Weather for the birds
Friday, December 22, is technically the first winter day here in the Northern Hemisphere. But looking out of the window in Prague, one would hardly guess it's nearly Christmas time. Daytime temperatures are well above zero degrees Celsius, there's no sign of snow whatsoever, and plants have become so confused that some have started to blossom again. Owing to the unseasonably warm weather, we can still see species of birds around that should have left Central Europe weeks ago.
"Some of the species that migrate for short distances, to the Mediterranean, for example, have stayed here in larger numbers than usual. They can be observed even now in December and it seems they have decided to spend the winter here. It is especially the case with water birds that are staying on water bodies that have not frozen over. For example, greylag geese and lapwings are still here in large numbers."
"The numbers are very low because the warm weather has prevailed also in the north, in Scandinavia, for example. Rivers are not frozen over, so the birds have access to food and have no reason to fly south. Those are bean geese, white-fronted geese. The goosanders which usually spend winters here on the Vltava have not arrived yet. Rooks that arrive around October 20th were also late this year and in the city their number is low but they may still be scattered outside in the fields."
Jaroslav Cepak says gradual changes in the migration patterns of birds can be observed across Europe but it is still early days to draw any definitive conclusions from that.