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By Climatologist Cliff Harris

I’ve received numerous phone calls and e-mails concerning an Audubon Society study released this past week concluding that "more than half" of the 305 known bird species in North America are spending the winter season about 35 miles farther north than they did nearly 40 years ago in 1970.

The purple finch has been the biggest northward mover. It’s wintering grounds are now near the latitude of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Four decades ago, they wintered around the same latitude as Springfield, Missouri.

Local residents of North Idaho have reported that they have seen "robins searching for food in their backyards every month this snowy winter of 2008-09," this despite the rather harsh conditions that have forced moose, elk, bear, cougar and other animals into the region’s towns on ‘a quest for sustenance.’

The global warmists claim that these birds wintering farther north are "the canaries in the coal mine." I disagree, which probably is no surprise to our readers.

It’s the opinion of this climatologist that SEVERE DROUGHT conditions and the lack of food has forced many birds farther north. It’s not global warming. This drought has been caused by a COOLING CLIMATE, one that produced one of the chilliest summer seasons on record in 2008 around the Great Lakes from Chicago eastward through Detroit, Cleveland and Buffalo, New York.

The sun has been very quiet lately. There have been just a few periods with solar storms. Sunspot activity has been at a minimum level now for many months. Remember, August of 2008 had no sunspots sighted for the first time in at least seven decades.

Urban sprawl, deforestation, forest and brush fires, and the lure of literally millions of backyard feeders have kept many bird species that normally fly south for the winter at home in their rather comfortable surroundings, even during the recent harsher winter seasons associated with global cooling and more frequent ‘La Nina’ cooler than normal sea-surface temperature events in the tepid waters of the Pacific Ocean.

Also, could a global warming expert please explain to me why robins were also sighted frequently this winter season in northwestern Maine, the very same region of the country reporting ALL-TIME RECORD COLD in mid-January.

Big Black River, located in extreme northwestern Maine near the Quebec border of neighboring Canada, plunged on January 16, 2009 to an incredible actual air temperature of -50 degrees. This broke the previous all-time state record low of -48 degrees set back some 84 years ago on January 28, 1925.

The -50 degrees likewise tied New England’s all-time record low observed on January 30, 1934.

Again, it remains my stance that birds, animals, insects, and even human beings, are constantly migrating following ‘the trains of food,’ regardless of temperature ‘extremes’ in most cases.

Most people don’t realize that we are back in the 1930s, weatherwise and otherwise. In 1936, for example, at the height of the so-called "Great Depression," we set all-time records for both extreme heat and cold in the same year. Anything can happen at any time. Believe it!