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A typical site this time of year at the Slimbridge Wildfowl and Wetlands Center in the UK includes witnessing the arrival of over 300 swans. The birds, which are known for their beauty and grace, are frequent residents to the UK for the fall and winter months but with the effect of global warming changing weather patterns and warming temperatures, the swans have been arriving later and later every year. This year the swans are enjoying the waters of, not the warmer UK, but Siberia.
Siberia is not exactly the sort of place that you would imagine swans settling in during the fall, but so far the population of swans seem quite content to be where they are. For those who have been skeptical about scientific data on global warming because they can not actually see the effects, the time of denial is coming to an end. Cases such as this are offering us a vivid, and troublesome, picture of proof that global warming is occurring and effecting climates and habitats all over the planet.
One of the concerns over the swans is that if they begin to stay in Siberia instead of returning to the wetlands of the UK and other areas where they generally gather every year, then as the next generation of birds grow into adulthood, it is feared by some that they will not know where the old home in warmer weather is. So if a cold front comes through that happens to drive temperatures too low for the swans to survive or find food which, is an issue of great concern for these birds who are already endanger with so few members of the species left, some worry about their fate if they do not know where to go.
Already threatened by habitat loss, the swans are not alone in the world of birds who are seeing serious problems or decline due to global warming. While it is yet unknown if the Siberian winter this year will finally prove cold enough for the swans to return to their familiar wetlands, the trend is showing a steady decline in the stability of global climate and ecosystems are starting to suffer because of it. Hopefully, signs such as this will serve as a wake up call for some who still think that global warming is not an issue of concern and will get people to realize just how much is at stake and why we need immediate action.