I stepped onto the battlefield of climate change, sidestepping carcass after carcass. In the grass were the remains of Arctic terns, common terns, and roseate terns. Along the boulders, researchers pointed out dead puffin chicks. As other climate war zones smolder with wildfire embers, are strewn with flattened homes, or marked by bleached coral, the signature of conflict on a seabird island in the Gulf of Maine is a maddening quietude.
I began visiting these islands 35 years ago. Until this past summer, every walk to a bird blind meant going through a gauntlet of angry, dive-bombing birds pecking at my head, pooping on my shoulders, and screeching at a deafening pitch as I passed by their chicks darting at my feet. Even in the blind, the cacophony of birds swirling about obliterated all other sound. This year, with so much nest failure and so few chicks to protect, I heard the lapping ocean a football field away.
My heart ached that this can’t be. My head said of course it is. This is exactly what scientists said would happen with uncontrolled warming. No matter how high or how far they can fly, seabirds are climate ch... Read more