The Audubon Society’s new report Survival By Degrees informs us of the current and anticipated threat to America’s wild birds from range shift due to climate change. “Scientists agree that we should take immediate action to hold warming at 1.5 degrees Celsius or else face increasingly dire consequences” that could include losing up to two thirds of America’s wild birds. For a clear and graphic display of how varying degrees of climate change is expected to affect wild birds in North America please see their new interactive web pages at https://www.audubon.org/climate/survivalbydegrees/
On their interactive website you can find out about your own area by ZIP code or by State and see range shifts for species and the particular threats in Summer and Winter time to particular birds. I was surprised that we might lose our Fish Crow from our area, one of the easiest birds to identify by its call, which sounds very much like “Fish crow! Fish crow!” and sadly also The Brown-headed Nuthatch and possibly even our gorgeous Indigo Buntings.
Their report is informed by 140,000,000 reports by birders and scientists that present an understanding of birds’ current ranges and possible range shifts under different scenarios of climate change expected from business- as-usual scenarios, the imminent 1.5 degree Celsius shift, a 2 degree Celsius shift expected by 2050 and a and 3 degree shift that we could see by 2080. Scientists agree that we should take immediate action to hold warming at 1.5 degrees Celsius or else face increasingly dire consequences. Threats to birds from climate change that Audubon identify include drought, flooding, Spring heat waves, expanding agriculture, urbanization and heavy rain.
On top of climate change and habitat loss, birds also face deadly pesticides and other pollution either affecting them directly via their food and water poisoning or by loss of their insect and plant food. Large numbers also suffer predation from domestic cats and collisions with vehicular traffic and tall structures.
Actions to help birds can be found at https://www.audubon.org/takeaction
Who are The National Audubon Society? They are a non-profit conservation organization that “protects birds and the places they need, today and tomorrow, throughout the Americas using science, advocacy, education, and on-the-ground conservation.”