New Report Shows Climate Change Isn't For The Birds

Audubon scientist Brooke Bateman looks at the birds in the Alafia Bank Sanctuary near Tampa

New Report Shows Climate Change Isn't For The Birds

"This new data pivots forward and imagines an even more frightening future".

The ruffed grouse, Pennsylvania's state bird, could move completely out of the state if the planet warms 3 degrees Celsius, which the United Nations predicts will happen this century. Climate change could eradicate two thirds of the bird species now prevalent in OH by the end of this century.

Last month, the journal Science published a study by a joint team of conservation biologists describing a grim picture: a steady decline of almost three billion North American birds since 1970, primarily as a result of human activities.

Audubon scientists combed through 140 million observations recorded by bird watchers and scientists and the latest climate models to project how each species' range will shift as climate change and other human impacts advance throughout North America.

"Wild birds face a lot of threats of different kinds, but climate change just puts, sort of compounds those threats in a lot of pretty devastating ways", said Travis Audubon Executive Director Nicole Netherton.

Now, a new report suggests that those past declines are just a prelude to something worse: almost two-thirds of all North American bird species are facing a serious threat to their survival as climate change accelerates and becomes a dominant factor in ecosystems on a continentwide scale. "These things are going to impact us".

Bateman was in second grade when she first heard the haunting call of the common loon on a lake in Wisconsin. And along with them, so may we.

"Ninety-nine percent of birds could have to cope with more frequent extreme-weather events, like intense spring heat and heavy rainfall; at the same time, sea-level rise and urbanization could consume much-needed habitat", the scientists write in a summary of their findings.

Under the most extreme projections, California could face temperature increases of more than six degrees Fahrenheit in winter and up to almost 10 degrees Fahrenheit in summer.

ME would be one of the worst-hit states under the worst-case scenario because its northerly climate has a wide diversity of bird habitat that captures breeding birds that migrate south in the winter and those that remain, like the black-capped chickadee and boreal chickadee, Wells said.

If steps aren't taken to reduce climate change, Yarnold warned, the reality could be worse than the model's predictions. "Audubon is committed to protecting the places birds need now and in the future and taking action to address the root causes of climate change".

Ask elected officials to expand consumer-driven clean energy development that grows jobs in local communities - like solar or wind power.

Plant drought-tolerant and native plants at your home or encourage at your office - to reduce water usage and help birds adapt to climate change.

The Audubon report only looked at species for which there were good data sets, with much of the data coming from birders who record on the e-bird website managed by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

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