April birding calendar includes solar eclipse, return of many familiar birds

The April 8 total solar eclipse in Western New York is going to be extraordinary! You've heard and read about it. Remember the rest of April.  

At one of our weekly Rotary Club luncheons, we hosted the Wyoming County Chamber of Commerce and Tourism and heard from three Buffalo Astronomical Association scientists about this once-in-a-lifetime event that will cross the country on Monday.  

The next total solar eclipse in western New York will be 120 years after 1925. The total solar eclipse will last less than four minutes and last 2-3 hours, making it a remarkable experience.   

Several people have asked me what birds and wildlife do when it becomes dark midafternoon with several hours of daylight left. Birds will probably be the most visible fauna, wondering why it's dark so early.  

This eclipse occurs only once in several lifetimes for most creatures. However, nature will adapt to the gloom. Perhaps Mother Nature already has this in her unfathomable centuries-long timetable!  

I think many of us have downplayed the eclipse. We cannot adequately express the full effect of this total solar eclipse, unless someone has experienced one in another area of the country.  

Will humans and the birds and nature view the darkness like an imminent areawide thunderstorm's gloomy and overcast sky?  

The experience, as described by scientists, can be both exciting and emotional. They advised us to experience the moment of history rather than photograph it. Photographers should be knowledgeable.  

They repeatedly stressed that wearing eclipse glasses was essential and that even brief solar exposure can damage eyes. We must watch out for ourselves and others who may ignore safety warnings.  

As usual, April brings springtime nature. Those miracles deserve as much attention as the eclipse! I suppose we take spring for granted because we're so used to it. Despite loving nature, I suppose I overlook many of its oddities!  

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