How Climate Change Will Affect Birds in Colorado
Vulnerable Birds in Colorado
Highly and moderately vulnerable birds may lose more than half of their current range—the geographic area where they live—as they are forced to search for suitable habitat and climate conditions elsewhere.
Below, find out which of the birds that nest or spend the winter in your area are most vulnerable across their entire range. Some birds may lose range outside of your state, making the protection of their current habitat in your area even more important.
How will the Lark Bunting's range be affected in Colorado?
Rising temperatures and shifting weather patterns affect birds' ability to find food and reproduce, which over time impacts local populations, and ultimately continent-wide populations, too. Some species may even go extinct in your state if they cannot find the conditions they need to survive and raise their young.
Select a warming scenario to see how this species’ range will change under increased global temperatures.
Reducing warming makes many types of birds found in Colorado less vulnerable.
In order to hold warming steady, we must act now to reduce the amount of carbon released into the atmosphere and limit warming to 1.5 degrees. We must reduce our carbon emissions and also absorb what is produced through natural solutions like reforestation or with technology that removes carbon from the air.
Click the three different warming scenarios to explore how increased warming puts more species in Colorado at risk.
Colorado's Birds and Habitats
Rocky Mountain National Park habitats, which range from alpine tundra to low-elevation marshes, support a wide array of bird populations, including American Dippers and Broad-tailed Hummingbirds. Along the Colorado River, the lowland stretches of the Grand Valley Riparian Corridor provide wintering and breeding grounds for hundreds of species. Among the most imperiled ecosystems in North America, the shortgrass prairies of eastern Colorado support Mountain Plovers, Ferruginous Hawks, and other open-country birds.
Climate Policy in Colorado
.3 % Biomass
3.5 % Hydro
1.8 % Solar
54 % Coal
(Data: U.S. EIA)
Colorado’s climate action plan establishes a framework to drastically reduce statewide greenhouse-gas pollution. Many cities are also tackling carbon emissions: Fort Collins and Denver, for instance, each have a climate action plan. Utilities such as Xcel Energy, which aims for 100-percent zero-carbon electricity by 2050, are also stepping up.
Climate Threats Facing Birds and People in Colorado
Inflexible water management, rising temperatures, and decreased rainfall have contributed to increasingly arid conditions on the Colorado River, threatening the economies and communities that depend on it. Elsewhere in the state, warmer temperatures and drought have led to drier soils, which, in turn, killed swaths of trees, enabling outbreaks of forest insects and increasing the risk of fires. In the coming decades, Colorado will likely experience decreased water availability, reduced agricultural yields, and greater fire risk.
The same climate change-driven threats that put birds at risk harm people, too. Hover over or tap an area on the map to see specific threats that will affect that area as warming increases.