Massive southern invasions by northern birds linked to climate shifts

May 11, 2015
Citizen scientists watching backyard birdfeeders helped scientists pinpoint the climate pattern behind boreal bird irruptions, when vast numbers of northern birds migrate far south of their usual winter range. Credit: Andrew C [CC BY 2.0] via Wikimedia Commons

With puzzling variability, vast numbers of birds from Canada's boreal forests migrate hundreds or thousands of miles south from their usual winter range. These so-called irruptions were first noticed by birdwatchers decades ago, but the driving factors have never been fully explained. Now scientists have pinpointed the climate pattern that likely sets the stage for irruptions - a discovery that could make it possible to predict the events more than a year in advance.

The researchers found that persistent shifts in rainfall and temperature drive boom-and-bust cycles in forest seed production, which in turn drive the mass migrations of pine siskins, the most widespread and visible of the irruptive migrants. "It's a chain reaction from to seeds to birds," says atmospheric scientist Court Strong, an assistant professor at the University of Utah and lead author of the study.

Many seed-eating boreal species are subject to irruptions, including Bohemian and cedar waxwings, boreal chickadees, red and white-winged crossbills, purple finches, pine and evening grosbeaks, red-breasted nuthatches, and common and hoary redpolls. The authors focused on the pine siskin, a species featured prominently in earlier work on irruptive migrations.

Previous studies have found evidence that irruptions are triggered by food shortages caused by the large-scale collapse of seed production in northern pine, spruce and fir forests.

"We've known for a long time that weather was probably important, but prior analyses by ecologists have been unable to identify exactly what role weather was playing in this phenomenon," says ecologist Walt Koenig, a senior scientist at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and co-author of the new study incorporating climate science. "It's a good example of the value of interdisciplinary work," Koenig says.

To resolve the question, the scientists turned to a remarkable trove of data gathered by backyard birders as part of Project FeederWatch, a citizen science initiative run by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. FeederWatcher volunteers systematically record bird sightings from November through early April and they gave the scientists more than two million observations of pine siskins since 1989. The crowd-sourced data makes it possible to track the movement of bird populations at a continent-wide scale.

"Avid birders across the U.S. and Canada have contributed sustained observations of birds at the same broad geographic scale in which weather and climate have also been observed and understood," says co-author Julio Betancourt, a senior scientist with the U.S. Geological Survey in Reston, Virginia.

Pine siskins breed during summer in Canadian boreal forests, where they rely heavily on tree seeds for food. When seeds are abundant, pine siskins in eastern North America largely stay put in the northern coniferous forests of Canada through the winter. But when seed production is poor, pine siskins and other boreal birds move elsewhere to find overwintering habitat with adequate food. During these irruptive years, the eastern populations of pine siskins forage as far south as the Appalachian Mountains. Western populations show less variability in irruptive movements.

Amateur birdwatchers have recorded dramatic shifts in siskin migrations over the years. The winter ending in 1990, for example, featured a massive "superflight" south of the boreal forest, while during the winter ending in 2004 there was a near absence of boreal pine siskins in the U.S. The winter ending in 2009 saw another big irruption south of the boreal forest, followed by greatly reduced counts the following winter.

In the new study, researchers combined FeederWatch observations with climate data in a statistical analysis. This allowed them to link bird population movements with established patterns of climate variability across North America. As expected, they found that extremely cold winters tend to drive birds south during the irruption year.

More surprisingly, the researchers found a teeter-tottering pattern between the north and south that influences bird migrations two to three years later. When the prevailing weather is wet and cold and unfavorable to seed production in one region, it tends to be warmer and drier and favorable to seed production in the other region.

This climate "dipole" tends to push and pull bird migrations across the continent. The heaviness of in a given year depends on how favorable the climate was during the two or three previous years required to set and ripen seeds. That means that, in principle, it might be possible to predict irruptions up to two years in advance.

The finding also raises a question about the impact of : could the perturbation by massive carbon dioxide emissions disrupt the coupling between north and south such that unfavorable conditions unfold simultaneously, leaving birds with poor seed supplies everywhere in some years?

The answer is unknown. "The is the world's largest terrestrial biome and is home to more than half of North America's bird species," says co-author Benjamin Zuckerberg, an assistant professor of wildlife ecology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. "It is likely that these irruptions, driven by climate, are a critical indicator of how climate change will affect northern forests and their dependent species."

The study, funded by the National Science Foundation, was published today in the online version of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Explore further: Threats seen to three billion birds in vast Canadian forest

More information: Climatic dipoles drive two principal modes of North American boreal bird irruption, PNAS, www.pnas.org/cgi/doi/10.1073/pnas.1418414112

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cantdrive85
1 / 5 (8) May 11, 2015
Them damn northerner birds flapping their wings in the south is amplifying AGW. Release the cats!
ryggesogn2
2.2 / 5 (9) May 11, 2015
Snow birds staying south must mean the north is getting colder.
Grallen
4.6 / 5 (9) May 11, 2015
@candrive85 and ryggesogn2: Can't be bothered to read the articles? You just go around vandalizing the comments blindly. Awesome.
Shootist
1 / 5 (5) May 11, 2015
i don't give a damn about climate change. Why? Because the climate changes, always. It probably isn't man's doing, it's without question nature's doing and nature has been doing it since water and atmosphere and sunlight mixed 3 billion years ago.

That said.

I live on a major migratory path for robins and two species of hummingbird. For as long as I can remember, 50-60 years, robins and hummingbirds made my yard their home for a week or two, twice a year, every year. I saw no robins or hummingbirds heading south last fall (2014) and no robins or hummingbirds heading north this spring (2015).

That is all.

RealityCheck
3.5 / 5 (11) May 11, 2015
Hi ryggesogn2. :)
Snow birds staying south must mean the north is getting colder.
Really, ryggesogn2, how can you ever be taken seriously if you can't process/understand even the most straightforward points in the above study and its obvious implications both on the birds and the forests they usually inhabit?

The PRIMARY point is weather/climate change vagaries affecting birds' usual preferred FOOD-producing source/region.

Whenever their usual food supply is adversely affected by changing patterns of precipitation and pest/disease decimating seed production in their forests, the SECONDARY consequence is 'irruption' towards other food-supply regions until weather/climate/pests etc damage reverses in their home forest to allow seed production again.

Once climate changes become entrenched, though, these 'irruptive excursions' may become 'permanent shift' if seed production may be permanently compromised by GW consequences on their northern forests.

Ok? :)
ryggesogn2
2 / 5 (8) May 11, 2015
""It is likely that these irruptions, driven by climate,"

Likely?
Colder norther climate interrupts, birds fly south.

There seems to be no shortage of Canadian geese crapping all over from north to south, MA to AL.
ryggesogn2
2.3 / 5 (9) May 11, 2015
Once climate changes become entrenched,


How can such changes become entrenched when climate keeps changing?

seed production may be permanently compromised


What seeds? ALL seeds or just those that adapt?

In nature, adapt or die.
RealityCheck
3.9 / 5 (11) May 11, 2015
@ryggesogn2.

I suspect you were composing your last post and missed mine posted just before yours. Do you now see where your whole line of 'argument/comment' is based on your false premises which ignore the actual subtle but important points made in the article, as I stressed above for your further notice?

Less emotional/political blinkers, and more actual objective comprehension/comment, mate.

Good luck and good thinking to us all, hey! :)
ryggesogn2
1.8 / 5 (5) May 11, 2015
"Mostly seeds and other vegetable matter, some insects. Feeds on seeds of alder, birch, spruce, and many other trees, also those of weeds and grasses; eats buds, flower parts, nectar, young shoots. Also feeds on insects, including caterpillars and aphids. May be attracted to salt. "

"Migration

Very erratic in its winter occurrence, coming south in huge numbers some years, very scarce in others. After big invasion winters, a few may remain to nest south of normal range. Migrates by day, in flocks."
http://www.audubo...e-siskin
ryggesogn2
2 / 5 (8) May 11, 2015
@ryggesogn2.

I suspect you were composing your last post and missed mine posted just before yours. Do you now see where your whole line of 'argument/comment' is based on your false premises which ignore the actual subtle but important points made in the article, as I stressed above for your further notice?

Less emotional/political blinkers, and more actual objective comprehension/comment, mate.

Good luck and good thinking to us all, hey! :)


When your only tool is a hammer, all problems look like nails.

To AGWites, ALL problems are caused by human induced climate change and they can beat the data to prove it.
RealityCheck
3.4 / 5 (10) May 11, 2015
@ryggesogn2.
How can such changes become entrenched when climate keeps changing?

What seeds? ALL seeds or just those that adapt?

In nature, adapt or die.
When the warming extends so much that the whole planet dynamics shifts to higher-temperature equilibrium states in future, the Polar regions/effects will shrink and patterns will settle at different 'interfaces' than now between polar-mid-and-tropical air masses.

And the 'adapting' part is the problem. It takes a long time, and meanwhile whole ecosystems and the humans (as well as these birds etc) depending on them will suffer/die.

It's extremely disturbing to see you post such facile 'analysis' and 'cavalier' remarks/conclusions about such imminently disastrous period confronting all humanity and the ecosystems we currently rely on. What can motivate such insensibility and, yes stuoidity, in the face of imminent and avoidable man-exacerbated catastrophe?

I suppose your 'shilling' is enough, ryggesogn2. Sad.
RealityCheck
3.7 / 5 (9) May 11, 2015
@ryggesogn2.
When your only tool is a hammer, all problems look like nails.

To AGWites, ALL problems are caused by human induced climate change and they can beat the data to prove it.
That?...from someone who couldn't even be bothered to process/discern the ACTUAL TWO subtle but important aspects pointed out in the article? :)

Come on, it's you that brings the blunt 'mercenary tool' to these issues....and it isn't pretty, mate. :)
howhot2
4 / 5 (8) May 11, 2015
@Reality .. the @Rygg is a bean head. He doesn't know anything unless it fits his self-centered concepts of the world around him. Sadly this fool has no understanding of climate change or the good work that scientist have done in warning the world of the impact global warming on mankind. He insists on the dodge and mis-direction rather than arguments with fact. He knows he will loose to fact, to science and to math. So @Reality, treat @Rygg with all the contempt that an outcast denier deserves.
Porgie
2 / 5 (6) May 11, 2015
What about the southern birds coming north? The white wing dove, a southern Mexican bird has been moving into Texas and New Mexico for 10 years. They are past Waco now. When I was younger, they were unheard of. Anything to blame to blame progress on global warming.
EnricM
4.4 / 5 (7) May 12, 2015
Them damn northerner birds flapping their wings in the south is amplifying AGW. Release the cats!


Another citizen mislead by this hoax they call "Science". Do you really believe in that?
Just check the facts: There are no birds, it's just a big scam founded by the Global Biologists Lobby in order to keep their well paid jobs. Just Google It !!!
ryggesogn2
2 / 5 (4) May 12, 2015
And the 'adapting' part is the problem

According to Audubon, the siskin appears to be quite adaptable eating a wide variety of food.
Moebius
2.6 / 5 (5) May 12, 2015
Shootist, you have to be a moron to believe what you just said. And I may very well be insulting morons. That is one of the most scientifically ignorant things I've heard. You obviously are a republican because that kind of idiocy resides in only one place. Please, show me an experiment where CO2 magically disappears with no effect. You must know of one if what you say and believe isn't pure ignorant stupidity.
jeffensley
2 / 5 (8) May 12, 2015
It's extremely disturbing to see you post such facile 'analysis' and 'cavalier' remarks/conclusions about such imminently disastrous period confronting all humanity and the ecosystems we currently rely on. What can motivate such insensibility and, yes stuoidity, in the face of imminent and avoidable man-exacerbated catastrophe?


I agree with ryggesogn2 here. The only constant is change. The real problem is a scientific community and populace that believes change isn't supposed to happen, that stasis and man-made averages are the norm. When one operates from that illusion then any deviance from the familiar (which for us is created by an amazingly small window of time) is interpreted as "disastrous" or "catastrophic" or whatever dramatic word you'd like to use. Suffering is a part of life... some suffer, some persevere so that others may continue in the future. This isn't some new condition created by warming temperatures, that's simply existence.
Whydening Gyre
4 / 5 (4) May 12, 2015
When your only tool is a hammer, all problems look like nails.


What tool to use if all problems really DO appear to be nails?
Not the screwdriver...
ryggesogn2
2 / 5 (4) May 12, 2015
When your only tool is a hammer, all problems look like nails.


What tool to use if all problems really DO appear to be nails?
Not the screwdriver...


The article describes desperate AGWites looking for any observations they can use to support their faith.
barakn
4.3 / 5 (6) May 12, 2015
I agree with ryggesogn2 here. The only constant is change. The real problem is a scientific community and populace that believes change isn't supposed to happen, that stasis and man-made averages are the norm. -jeffensley

No, you are arguing from ignorance here. Scientists are actually aware that change isn't constant and that one can actually measure the rate at which change is occurring. Aside from a few asteroid strikes and some unusual events during the Younger Dryas, natural climate change is far slower than human-induced climate change. The question is not whether the climate is changing - it clearly is now as it has in the past - but whether we and other life forms can adapt to the current rapid rate of climate change.
jeffensley
1.7 / 5 (6) May 12, 2015
It's worth considering that the clear picture we think we have as to how rapidly changes have occurred in the past, may not be so clear. Old, extrapolated data has low-resolution which tends to have a smoothing effect meaning any changes occurring on smaller time scales would be glossed over.

The question is not whether the climate is changing - it clearly is now as it has in the past - but whether we and other life forms can adapt to the current rapid rate of climate change


Is that really a rational question? The evidence (billions of years of life on this planet) indicates that life can and will adapt. We're already seeing it today with new behaviors in plants and animals... the spin arm of the political and scientific community however deign to call these changes "problems" or evidence of looming catastrophe.
jeffensley
1.7 / 5 (6) May 12, 2015
Please understand, I believe we need to drastically cut our energy use, just not under the misguided notion that it will have any impact on climate. The most vehement of the AGW crowd however, expend an extraordinary amount of intellectual energy running back and forth between hand wringing over every new piece of data that indicates change or simply blaming "deniers" for the the climate issue not being fixed yet. Neither are very productive.
ryggesogn2
1 / 5 (3) May 12, 2015
, I believe we need to drastically cut our energy use,


Why?

Energy is required for a modern life with hospitals, flush toilets, clean water, abundant food, ....
jeffensley
3 / 5 (4) May 12, 2015
, I believe we need to drastically cut our energy use,


Why?

Energy is required for a modern life with hospitals, flush toilets, clean water, abundant food, ....


Modern life is amazingly wasteful. Most of our energy is used heating/cooling oversized houses or driving oversized cars. There's a vast gap between "modern" and "glutenous" which is where we currently reside.
ryggesogn2
1 / 5 (3) May 13, 2015
Modern life is amazingly wasteful.

So? Are you paying for it?
oversized houses or driving oversized cars

Who are you to judge?

Why do 'we' need to cut energy use?
RealityCheck
3.3 / 5 (7) May 16, 2015
@ryggesogn2. Mate, do you ever stop to read what you think/post? :)

Have you not yet realized what objective history/experience/observation/implications teaches us?

A 'wasteful' society's/individual's behavior is symptomatic of one that fails to think/plan ahead for all concerned based on self-evident factors/consequences in reality rather than self-delusional/selfishness motives facilitated by ignorance and denial.

A small percentage of waste is inevitable in man's activities; but too much waste is a sign of disaster to come, in a myriad possible ways not readily appreciated. You don't applaud too much waste, I trust?

You're sounding more cognitive dissonant with every 'shilling' post you make. Not a good look for you personally; or for those whose 'shilling' you are taking to pay for making such an insensible ass of yourself. Give it a rest; and your conscience/intellect a break, mate; and rethink/reread what you've been thinking/posting on these issues. Good luck, matey!
ryggesogn2
1 / 5 (2) May 16, 2015
one that fails to think/plan ahead for all concerned


If Al Gore needs to heat and cool his mansions in TN and CA, and he can pay for it, who are you to say it is wasteful?

A 'wasteful' society's/individual's behavior


An individual is not society.

You don't applaud too much waste,


I personally do what I can to be efficient. I have no right or obligation to force othes to do the same.
RealityCheck
3.3 / 5 (7) May 17, 2015
Hi rygge-2.
one that fails to think/plan ahead for all concerned
If Al Gore needs to heat and cool his mansions in TN and CA, and he can pay for it, who are you to say it is wasteful?
A 'wasteful' society's/individual's behavior
An individual is not society.
You don't applaud too much waste,
I personally do what I can to be efficient. I have no right or obligation to force othes to do the same.
That's the difference between your thinking and mine. You are more interested in cheap shots and individual subjective selfishness/motives than actual social conscience and objective problem solving for greater good.

Have you no sense left? Is mercenary 'shilling' compensation/remunerating enough for the damage it is doing to your own personality/conscience and future chances of self-respect and useful contribution to longterm humanity survival/progress?

Too much waste in man's activity is unsustainable in long term, irrespective of individual 'who'. :)
ryggesogn2
1 / 5 (2) May 17, 2015
objective problem solving for greater good.


What is the 'greater good'?

How can the 'greater good' be objective for billions of individuals?

Don't hurt yourself patting your back.
ryggesogn2
1 / 5 (2) May 17, 2015
Greater good?

"Edgar Friendly: That's right. You see, according to *Cacteau's* plan. *I'm* the enemy. Because I like to think, I like to read. I'm into freedom of speech, freedom of choice. I'm the kind if guy who would sit in the greasy spoon and think "Gee, should I have the T-bone steak or the big rack of Barbecued spare ribs with the side order of gravy fries?" I *want* high cholesterol. I want to eat bacon, butter and buckets of cheese alright? I want to smoke a Cuban cigar the size of Cincinatti in a non-smoking section. I wanna run around naked with green jell-o all over my body reading a Playboy magazine. Why? Because maybe I feel the need to okay pal? I've *seen* the future, you know what it is. It's made by a 47 year-old virgin in gray pajamas soaking in a bubble bath, drinking a broccoli milkshake and thinking "I'm an Oscar-Meyer Wiener". You wanna live on top, you gotta live Cacteau's way. ..."
Or RC's way.
ryggesogn2
1 / 5 (2) May 17, 2015
"If "goods" are incommensurable, then one of them cannot be said to be "greater" than others. Thus acting for the "greater good" is without meaning. "
http://reason.com...ter-good
RealityCheck
2.6 / 5 (5) May 17, 2015
Hi rygge-2.
objective problem solving for greater good.
What is the 'greater good'? How can the 'greater good' be objective for billions of individuals? Don't hurt yourself patting your back.
Are you for real? Have you no sense of 'greater good' at all that does not conflict with your rights as an individual? For example, responsible and caring parents are prepared to suffer and sacrifice for their children's future prospects, not for their own individual selfishness and comfort and rights to do as they please irrespective of harm to children's health and wellbeing. Similarly, any caring citizen of a society that supports them would in turn be prepared to suffer and sacrifice for the good of that society and its chances of continuing success, for the sake of all irrespective of individual preferences.

Come, come, ryggesogn2, you can't be as obtuse as you come across in your cheap shots and lame trivial examples which do not go to the heart of the bigger picture. :)
ryggesogn2
1 / 5 (2) May 17, 2015
responsible and caring parents are prepared to suffer and sacrifice for their children's future prospects, not for their own individual selfishness


This is called self interest.
Biologically, children pass on the genes of the parents, and in a society, children care for the parents in old age.
any caring citizen of a society that supports them would in turn be prepared to suffer and sacrifice for the good of that society

What society?
Today's society that does not respect individual rights or the rights of the unborn?

Maybe you believe the 'greater good' is to murder babies before birth or murder deformed babies as Spartan society did?
RealityCheck
3.3 / 5 (7) May 17, 2015
Hi rygge-2.
responsible and caring parents are prepared to suffer and sacrifice for their children's future prospects, not for their own individual selfishness
This is called self interest.
Biologically, children pass on the genes of the parents, and in a society, children care for the parents in old age.
Note I said "caring parents". Unlike animals, the human intellect, experience and 'world construct' allows CHOICE denied to animals driven solely by instinct. You are not a primitive animal, hence expected to make choices for greater good too, not just instinctive self-gratification.
What society? Today's society that does not respect individual rights or the rights of the unborn? Maybe you believe the 'greater good' is to murder babies before birth or murder deformed babies as Spartan society did?
These are the questions facing humanity. Compassion informed by reality. Each person must vote/make informed choice for both themselves and society. Balance.
ryggesogn2
1 / 5 (1) May 18, 2015
"caring parents"

Caring parents are not motivated to have children to pass along their genes and have children to care for them in old age?

These are the questions facing humanity.


Not much science in this one.
RC, are you obfuscating because you want to or because you have to?
RealityCheck
2.6 / 5 (5) May 18, 2015
Hi rygge-2.
"caring parents"

Caring parents are not motivated to have children to pass along their genes and have children to care for them in old age?
The human condition/psyche is more, much more than animal instinct. A Human's assessment of the realities around them will inform their decisions based on whether they can bring their child to maturity safely and healthily. The society and its common welfare support systems will play a major part in such decisionmaking. Anyone who ignores the realities around them is set up for failure. Witness the brutal/violent/short lives most lived until recent social society.

These are the questions facing humanity.
Not much science in this one. RC, are you obfuscating because you want to or because you have to?
You don't know about the CHOICES people have to make every day? Where do you live, on 'planet perfect'? One such choice: contraception availability/use to prevent overpopulation, disease, poverty etc.
ryggesogn2
1 / 5 (1) May 18, 2015
A Human's assessment of the realities around them will inform their decisions based on whether they can bring their child to maturity safely and healthily.


What Human is that?

recent social society.


Why recent?

Are you implying only recent societies are 'social'? And what does 'social' mean?

Where do you live, on 'planet perfect'?


Obfuscation is intentional.

RealityCheck
2.6 / 5 (5) May 18, 2015
Hi rygge-2.
A Human's assessment of the realities around them will inform their decisions based on whether they can bring their child to maturity safely and healthily.
What Human is that?
A thinking human not a slave to his unthinking animal instincts.
recent social society.
Why recent?
The recent kinds which have evolved away from systems dominated by superstitious, religious, tyrannical kings/criminal dynasties and towards secular democratic and free speech and science based principles and laws/institutions etc.
Are you implying only recent societies are 'social'? And what does 'social' mean?
The kind of 'social' of the association in grpoups/nations has evolved as I pointed out above.
Where do you live, on 'planet perfect'?
Obfuscation is intentional.
As is obtuseness and denial of obvious factual realities. You seem determined to excel in that. You working towards 'cornering that market' to create a monopoly in that area?
ryggesogn2
1 / 5 (1) May 18, 2015
A thinking human not a slave to his unthinking animal instincts.


Maybe,but I wondered why you said 'Human' and not 'human'.

science based principles


They can't be socialist principles as science has demonstrated the failure of socialism.

'social' of the association in grpoups/nations


Why nations? The nation-state is a modern invention and has led to much tyranny, especially under national socialism.
ryggesogn2
1 / 5 (1) May 18, 2015
laws/institutions


This law? "What, then, is law? It is the collective organization of the individual right to lawful defense. "

"When justice is organized by law — that is, by force — this excludes the idea of using law (force) to organize any human activity whatever, whether it be labor, charity, agriculture, commerce, industry, education, art, or religion."
"it is impossible for me to separate the word fraternity from the word voluntary. I cannot possibly understand how fraternity can be legally enforced without liberty being legally destroyed, and thus justice being legally trampled underfoot "
"Socialism, like the ancient ideas from which it springs, confuses the distinction between government and society. As a result of this, every time we object to a thing being done by government, the socialists conclude that we object to its being done at all. "
The Law
ryggesogn2
1 / 5 (1) May 18, 2015
" The strange phenomenon of our times — one which will probably astound our descendants — is the doctrine based on this triple hypothesis: the total inertness of mankind, the omnipotence of the law, and the infallibility of the legislator. These three ideas form the sacred symbol of those who proclaim themselves totally democratic.

The advocates of this doctrine also profess to be social. So far as they are democratic, they place unlimited faith in mankind. But so far as they are social, they regard mankind as little better than mud. Let us examine this contrast in greater detail. "
The Law
RealityCheck
2.6 / 5 (5) May 18, 2015
Hi rygge-2.
A thinking human not a slave to his unthinking animal instincts.
Maybe,but I wondered why you said 'Human' and not 'human'.
Semantics aside, I used it advisedly to stress that a human and a human society has capabilities qualitatively and quantitatively more developed and advanced in scope; with responsibilities and consequence than mere instinctive animal behavior expresses.
science based principles
They can't be socialist principles as science has demonstrated the failure of socialism.
Communist Tyranny has failed. Unfettered Capitalism has failed. Socialism has EVOLVED and is alive and well in most modern forms, including the Secular Democratic Nations which you have to thank for the progress, opportunities, rights, laws which you have benefited from/currently exercising in open discourse without tyrannical dictates preventing your posts/opinions ( however ungrateful and/or reality-denying they may be, for whatever personal motives). :)

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