Warm Winters Threaten Wildlife; Conservation Charity Appeals for Help in Cataloguing Seasonal Shifts

Article excerpt

Byline: AMANDA BROWN

Winter is being shortened by longer warmer autumns and earlier springs, according to a survey by a conserv- ation charity.

With little prospect of wintry weather due to global warming and climate change, The Woodland Trust said many natural events previously associated with the spring were now happening before Christmas.

The yellow heads of primroses were appearing as early as December which means that any flowering plants, which usually lie dormant in winter, are vulnerable to sudden frosts.

Song thrushes can now be heard at Christmas while chiffchaff and blackcap are increasingly spending winter in Britain.

Snowdrops were being seen as early as November.

Winter, when it does arrive, is becoming shorter and increasingly frost-free.

With spring arriving earlier and the autumn period lengthening, winter is being shortened at both ends.

Former BBC weather forecaster Ian McCaskil said: "Changes in temperature are affecting our wildlife. …