Conservation

Climate Change

A Piping Plover broods a day-old chick at its nest on a restored island in the Platte River, Nebraska. Photo: Michael Forsberg

Climate change threatens the birds we see every day.

Our warming world poses profound challenges to conservation. The effects of climate change are already apparent—from habitat loss to devastating breaks in the delicate links that connect birds, migration, and food sources.

The Threat

Audubon’s Birds and Climate Change Report, published in 2014, confirmed that climate change is the single greatest threat to North American birds. Seven years in the making, the report warns that 314 North American bird species could lose more than half of their current ranges by 2080 due to rising temperatures. (For more on the methodology, and links to peer-reviewed articles published from this research, visit the FAQ page or read the full report.)

For those of us who care deeply about birds, from the Wood Thrush in eastern forests to the Burrowing Owl in western grasslands, this is a warning call that demands urgent action.

Audubon’s Solution

The situation is indeed dire—more than half of bird species on the continent are at risk—but there are reasons for hope. By identifying which birds are most sensitive to climate change and where those changes are most likely to occur, this research provides a roadmap for future conservation and advocacy efforts.

Audubon’s Climate Initiative, the organizational response to this threat, taps into its members’ love and commitment for birds to build population resilience and demand solutions to slow the pace of warming. Audubon is encouraging its members to take steps to address the climate change threat in their backyards, in their communities, in the Important Bird Areas (IBAs) near their homes, and in the state houses.

That requires a diverse network of climate activists with a shared value—a love and appreciation of birds. Take a look at how Audubon’s network of chapters, centers, state offices, and individual activists is helping birds adapt and pushing for solutions.

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Read Our Climate Change Special Issue

Audubon magazine devoted an entire issue to the challenges birds face in a warming world.