Climate Change Causing a “Bird Emergency” According to National Audubon Society

New Hampshire’s Purple Finch Photo: AllAboutBirds.org

The National Audubon Society issued an alarming entitled, Survival by Degrees: 389 Bird Species on the Brink with the group’s CEO and President, David Yarnold, saying, “[t]wo-thirds of America’s birds are threatened with extinction from climate change, but keeping global temperatures down will help up to 76 percent of themThe New York Times reported yesterday, based on the Audubon study, that as a result of warming at least eight states could see their state birds largely or entirely disappear from within their borders during the summer months.

Why This Matters:  The notion of states “losing” their state birds —  one of their most visible state symbols —  to climate change should ring some alarm bells — especially among climate deniers.  But it goes way beyond just these well-known birds — many others are also at risk of moving away from their previous habitat. You can see what birds in your neighborhood are threatened by using this zip-code based tool (click and scroll down) that Audubon developed.  This type of information should help people to see the importance of changing our current trajectory of climate change.

State Birds That Are Impacted

Audubon scientists studied 604 North American bird species using 140 million bird records, including observational data from bird lovers and field biologists across the country.

  • Assuming 3 degrees Fahrenheit or more of warming, the Common Loon of Minnesota, the California Quail, the Brown Thrasher in Georgia, the Purple Finch in New Hampshire, the Ruffled Grouse in Pennsylvania, the Hermit Thrush in Vermont, and the Goldfinch in Iowa and New Jersey all stand to lose most to all of their summer habitat.

Other Climate Impacts

Besides summer warming impacting their range, some bird species are likely to face additional dangers from climate change, such as increased springtime heat, fiercer wildfires or rising ocean levels, according to the Times.  Species such as the piping plover, which builds its nests in sandy areas along the Atlantic coast, is expected to see its habitat encroached by the rising seas, according to the Report.

“We already know what we need to do to reduce global warming, and we already have a lot of the tools we need to take those steps. Now, what we need are more people committed to making sure those solutions are put into practice,” said Renee Stone, vice president of climate for the National Audubon Society. “Our elected officials at every level of government must hear from their constituents that this is a priority. 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.”

What You Can Do:  Click here for Audubon’s suggested actions everyone can take to help fight this bird emergency.

Georgia’s Brown Thrasher Photo: AllAboutBirds.org

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