"Birds are important indicator species, because if an ecosystem is broken for birds, it is or soon will be for people, too."
-Brook Bateman, PhD., senior climate scientist for National Audubon Society
In 2019, studies show the number of birds in the United States and Canada have already declined by 29 percent over the past 50 years
Birds and Climate Visualizer Take it personally: Climate change is a serious threat to birds and your community. Enter your location to see which impacts from climate change are predicted for your area, and how birds near you will be affected
Try this Interactive Audubon Society tool that shows you the climate threats to your backyard birds. It displays information by ZIP code.
In October, 2019 the reportSurvival by Degrees: 389 Species on the Brink was released by the Audubon Society, showing two-thirds of North American birds are at increasing risk of extinction from global temperature rise. Audubon’ science shows that two-thirds (64%) (389 out of 604) of North American bird species are at risk of extinction from climate change. The good news is that the science also shows that if we take action now we can help improve the changes for 76% of species at risk.
The 2019 report,Decline of the North American avifaunadraws in on data for North America birds are that have been identified, counted fore several decades to report wide-spread population declines of birds over the past half-century. The number of birds in the United States and Canada has declined by 3 billion, or 29 percent, over the past half-century, scientists find.Experts have long known that some bird species have become vulnerable to extinction. But the new study, based on a broad survey of more than 500 species, reveals steep losses even among such traditionally abundant birds as robins and sparrows. The report is outline in a September 19, 2019 article in the Are York Times here.
The 2016 State of North America’s Birds (SONAB) report is based on a conservation status assessment of 1,154 native bird species that breed in the continental U.S., Canada, and Mexico, as well as oceanic birds that regularly occur in waters off these three countries. They conclude that North American wetlands and waterfowl conservation effort capitalized on synergies between continental policy and funding (North American Wetlands Conservation Act), coordinated science across species’ ranges (North American Waterfowl Management Plan), and the delivery of habitat conservation on the ground by local groups (regional conservation partnerships called Joint Ventures). See the concerns in various habitats.
The 2015 Audubon Birds and Climate Reportwas a comprehensive, first-of-its kind study that predicts how climate change could affect the ranges of 588 North American birds. This showed 314 American bird species at risk.
Audubon scientists used three decades of citizen-scientist to define the “climatic suitability” for each bird species (the range of temperatures, precipitation, and seasonal changes each species needs to survive), and then mapped where each bird’s ideal climatic range may be found in the future as the climate changes. These maps serve as a guide to how each bird’s current range could expand, contract, or shift across three future time periods.
Of the 588 North American bird species studied, more than half are likely to be in trouble. The models indicate that 314 species will lose more than 50 percent of their current climatic range by 2080.Of the 314 species at risk from global warming, 126 of them are classified as climate endangered. These birds are projected to lose more than 50 percent of their current range by 2050.
Many species of: Chickadees, Ducks, Egrets, Finches, Hawks, Grouse, Nuthatches, Owls, Plover, Quail, Sparrows, Swans, Stork, Terns, Warblers, Woodpeckers
RECOVERY CAN HAPPEN: Locally there are well known efforts to protect and help in the recovery of endangered Whooping Cranes, Sandhill Cranes and other cranes at the International Crane Foundation (ICF) in Baraboo, Wisconsin. The International Crane Foundation (ICF) commits to a future where all crane species are secure - a future where people cooperate to protect and restore wild populations and their ecosystems. These efforts sustain the places where cranes live, to the benefit of countless other species. Please support them,
Whooping Cranes:There were approximately 1,400 whooping cranes existing in 1860. Their population declined because of hunting and habitat loss until 1941 when the last migrating flock dwindled to an all-time low of 21 birds.Today, thanks to the efforts of many, including organizations like the ICF the population of Whooping Cranes has increased to 599.They continue to be threatened by the loss or deterioration of critical wetland habitat, low genetic diversity, power line collisions, predation, disturbance at nest sites and illegal shooting. Organizations like ICF and the Audubon Society need more support. The birds need us to help retain their habitat and do what we can to limit the effects of climate change.
Siberian Cranes: This critically endangered species is currently only found in two populations, the eastern and western. A central population of Siberian Cranes once nested in western Siberia and wintered in India. The last documented sighting of Siberian Cranes in India during the winter months was in 2002. All but a few existing birds belong to the eastern population, which breed in northeastern Siberia and winter along the middle Yangtze River in China. The western population winters at a single site along the south coast of the Caspian Sea in Iran and breeds just south of the Ob River east of the Ural Mountains in Russia. It is pointless to restore the populations of Siberian Cranes unless their security can be provided along the migration route. Consequently, since 2002, Dr. George Archibald of the ICF has traveled each winter to Afghanistan and Pakistan to work with colleagues on awareness programs that they hope will eventually lead to safer conditions for Siberian Cranes. He is also cultivating relationships with colleagues in the United Arab Emirates with the hope of joining forces to support the conservation of cranes and bustards along migration corridors these large birds share in west Asia.
Blue Birds: In the late 1960s and early 1970s, naturalists began to notice a persistent decline in bluebird populations. Public interest in the plight of the bluebirds grew, enthusiastic citizen scientists began to establish nest box trails across the continent, and populations of all three bluebird species rebounded by up to 70%.
WAYS TO HELP THE BIRDS: Protecting the birds will require both redoubling conservation efforts to:
safeguard critical habitat
curbing greenhouse gas emissions.
You can sign up with the Audubon Society to find climate-related volunteer opportunities in your state or local area, where you cam enlist inforthcoming citizen science projects to help monitor birds and document how they respond to a changing climate. Here are a few things you can do right now:
Create a Bird Friendly Yard and Community: Help keep birds healthy by creating safe spaces for birds in your home and community by using fewer pesticides, letting dead trees stand, installing bird baths, and converting lawns and gardens to native plants.
Meet With Local Decision Makers:Ask decision makers how they are planning to address global warming, and help share the science with state wildlife agencies, city parks departments, extension services, and other groups that manage our natural resources.For more information on how to help decision makers use and integrate Audubon’s science, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Support Policies That Lower Emissions: Urge leaders at the local, state, and national levels to enact policies that lower greenhouse gas emissions and support clean energy. Renewable portfolio standards, energy efficiency targets, and other proactive measures reduce emissions and will limit the effects of global warming on birds. Put these policies on your leaders’ agendas, and publicly support efforts to make them stick.