[Tweeters] Time and birds

Steve Hampton stevechampton at gmail.com
Mon May 23 05:30:51 PDT 2022

To add to Martha's contribution, there's currently a lot of research into
potential ecological/phenological mismatches due to climate change. In
short-- a timing problem.

Some birds (e.g. chickadees, warblers, flycatchers, etc) need thousands of
caterpillars to fledge a single nest. They time their nesting to coincide
with the emergence of this food source.

With climate change, we are seeing budding and emergence of bugs 1 to 4
weeks earlier; they respond to weather. Resident birds (e.g. our local
chickadees) have shown some ability to adapt and hurry up their nesting
timing, but long-distance migrants (e.g. warblers and flycatchers coming
from Central America) seem to be hard-wired by day-length. They're arriving
only a few days earlier, with some trying to nest quickly once they arrive
and realize they are behind schedule, but in general they are not adapting
fast enough. Fortunately, most species are still nesting within the period
of caterpillar abundance, but some (e.g. European Pied Flycatchers nesting
in oaks in northern Europe) are suffering nest failures. They are missing
the caterpillar boom. That's a timing problem for which they are not

On Sun, May 22, 2022 at 2:42 PM Martha Jordan <mj.cygnus at gmail.com> wrote:

> So timely to think only about human time:

> Humans constructed "clock time" as we now know it, likely early

> Eygptians and later Europeans with clocks with hands. Early humans ran on

> the same time as all other life....sun, moon, pull of earth, etc. Then, we

> constructed this construct of time as communication: meet me at 4 pm (so a

> clock was needed to make sure we all knew when 4 pm was), 24 hour time

> being a day. The sundial may have been the first, but the 24 hour clock

> with numbers and hands really solidified clock time as time (purely in our

> human minds). Clock time also comes with stressors in human lives. Now we

> can be early, or late, or miss a deadline, an event, a celebration.

> Other animals and life forms have no use for this, Thus, what is

> time. I observe all types of animals knowing what time it is: a dog who

> starts to let you know it is feeding time at 5:30pm everyday (it did not

> look at a clock and daylight savings time really screws them up like it

> does us). I have experienced captive swans do this same type of thing.

> The reality is, animals do tell time, as the length of the day goes by

> and then they are aware that something should happen. For our dogs it may

> be dinner, a walk, you need to get out of bed, etc. That is certainly time

> awareness. Yet, they know not of a clock. Birds come to my bird feeder at

> about the same time everyday when they know it will have been filled.

> Migration is certainly about time awareness. Yet there is no clock to

> tell them this. Birds know how to read the sun, daylight length,

> temperature, and such, all combining to keep, for example, the snow geese

> here an extra few weeks this year. How do they know this.....awareness of

> all their surroundings which is how we humans lived before someone invented

> the clock.

> We, humans, used all our senses to tell "time" before clocks were

> invented; to more closely regulate and make time a commonality point, less

> pinpoint accurate but functionally more liveable. Clock time has created a

> major stress in our lives. Suddenly we became early or late or on time.

> Suddenly we had schedules and timeframes and deadlines or daylight savings

> time.. Thankfully, animals do not have this pre knowledge of what it means

> to miss the timeframe or miss a deadline. It is more about life or death to

> wild animals when they miss the deadline. We take care of our domestic

> critters on a clock time frame for some folks, and on the farm clock for

> others, or fill in time frame you want. The wild animals continue to live

> "off the clock time" yet they absolutely live with a time frame.

> Just because a bird does not use a 24 hour clock of human construct,

> does not mean they do not have a keen sense of time.

> Indeed, animals have a great sense of time and timing.


> Respectfully,

> Martha Jordan

> Everett, WA


> _______________________________________________

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> Tweeters at u.washington.edu

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​Steve Hampton​
Port Townsend, WA (qatáy)
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