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How climate change is muting nature’s symphony

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Grist / Amelia Bates / Getty Images This story is part of Grist’s Coming to our Senses series, a weeklong exploration of how climate change is reshaping the way we see, hear, smell, touch, and taste the world around us.

When Jeff Wells, vice president for boreal conservation at the Audubon Society, first encountered the call of the common loon on a pond near Mt. Vernon, Maine — about an hour and a half north of Portland — he thought he may have heard a ghoul. “I leaped out of bed and ran into my parents’ bedroom, like, ‘What is that?’” he told Grist, describing a melancholy wail that has made loons famous far beyond the birding community .

Even after years of summer vacations in Maine, at the southernmost reaches of the loon’s habitat, Wells hasn’t tired of their calls. When their moody warbles echo across the pond, he still beckons family members to gather on the patio to listen. But loons, like so many other birds, are threatened by climate change . Rising summertime temperatures and warmer lake waters may eliminate important swathes of their habitat, and elevated precipitation is putting their nests at greater risk of flooding […]

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