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Exclusive: Vicky Woodgate on The Magic of Seasons

In an exclusive feature for Discover Animals, author and illustrator Vicky Woodgate shares the inspiration behind her new book, The Magic of Seasons, published by DK Books on World Book Day 2022…

It’s ALL Change

I spent 2021 delving into the mysterious world of our magnificent seasonal changes, researching for my latest book The Magic of Seasons.

With the focus of climate change very much on many of our minds, I was also curious to find out how this might affect our seasons, our everyday lives and of course the animals in our natural world.

So, what DID I discover? It seems yes, our seasons are shifting, the lines are blurring between winter, spring, summer, and autumn (mid-latitude areas) – I am sure you too may have noticed some small changes, even in your own back garden.

If you live in the Tropics which have two seasons and centred near the equator, it’s getting wetter and hotter – the Tropics are also widening, by 30 miles every ten years!

The Poles have two seasons, winter, and summer; however, global warming is causing rising temperatures putting these two seasons out of whack. Polar bears in the Arctic hunt seals from the ice to gain as much weight as possible for leaner times. But with ice breaking up earlier, bears have less time to hunt and build up fat reserves.

Weather patterns around the world are also becoming more unpredictable, with more intense fires, more floods, stronger storms, drier spells.

Our eco-system relies on balance, anything that changes the timing of when animals should search for food, find a mate, or even migrate, even by a few days could have unknown consequences on these and other creatures that rely on their finely balanced behaviour.

Those earlier emerging insects and fresh buds could spell disaster for returning migratory birds in spring who rely on them as a food source for their young, if they are already gone – then what do they feed on? And it’s happening to different species the world over.

Whale of a time

In 2019 possibly for the first time EVER, Bowhead Whales did not migrate from the icy waters of the Arctic, with rising temperatures and more food sources there was no need for them to leave! These huge breasts swim-feed with their mouths wide open, they need to consume over 100 tons of food a year, to give that some context, that’s about the same weight as a 747 airliner!

Rein-it-in

It has also been reported that many Arctic species when they do migrate are doing so EARLIER, female reindeer have been tracked, and it’s been discovered year on year they are moving one day earlier to give birth, after 15 years data collected that’s a whopping two-week shift in timing!

Flutter bye?

In North America, the Monarch butterfly migration is truly an awesome sight. Millions upon millions of delicate, vibrantly coloured swirls of orange and black move together on mass, filling the sky, but their numbers are falling. They rely on environmental cues to trigger migration, reproduction, and hibernation. The effects of increasingly frequent extreme weather events such as drought and severe storms, and longer, hotter or colder temperatures can disrupt their life cycle balance. This could be one of the reasons for their current decline.

Tall tails

Some animals are changing their body SHAPE to cope with the change in climate, a rapid form of evolution right in front of our eyes. The beaks of some birds are getting bigger – did you know house sparrows have bigger beaks in hotter countries? Wood mice are growing longer tails, to expel more heat, and some bat species’ wings are getting larger.

What now?

Human activity is causing rapid changes to our global climate and that, in turn, is influencing our seasons. Reducing our emissions by using renewable energy and cutting down waste can all help. We will face challenges ahead, but it’s not too late if we all pull together as a planet and make a change.

Vicky Woodgate

ABOUT:

 Vicky Woodgate is a UK based author and illustrator. For over 20 years, she worked as a commercial artist on interesting projects around the world, in recent years she moved into writing and illustrating for children. Her love of the natural world led to writing Urban Jungle and A World of Birds, published by Big Picture Press, her latest series The Magic of Sleep (2021) and her new book The Magic of Seasons: A Fascinating Guide to Seasons Around the World (2022), is published by Dorling and Kindersley.

“The Magic of Seasons is the follow-up title to The Magic of Sleep, we will learn everything there is to know about the seasons. How do we measure a season? Why do we divide our years up and when did we start doing this? Are seasons the same for everyone? How do they work? All these questions and many more will be covered, including surprising customs, ancient legends, interesting facts from the natural world, plus fun activities for us to enjoy.”

The Magic of Seasons: A Fascinating Guide to Seasons Around the World

Author Vicky Woodgate introduces a beautifully-illustrated and informative book to teach your child everything they need to know about the changing seasons in our world. What are seasons and why do they change? How can we measure seasons? Are seasons the same for everyone? These are all valuable questions that can be answered within this easy-to-follow weather book, proving the ideal read for ages 7 and above.

£9.99

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A World of Birds

This book will take readers on a flying visit around the world, scouring the seven continents for the biggest, brightest and best birds on the planet. Urban Jungle creator Vicky Woodgate perfectly captures the brilliance of the bird world, each chapter taking us to a new continent and introducing birds from hummingbirds to hawks, and parrots to penguins. With a vintage travelogue feel, vibrant artwork and fascinating annotations, it is a book that will appeal to wildlife lovers from 7 to 70!

£10.99

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