How Climate Change Will Affect Maine's Birds

Boreal Chickadee. Photo: Puffin's Pictures/Alamy

Vulnerable Birds in Maine

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.

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How will the Boreal Chickadee's range be affected in Maine?

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 Maine 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 Maine at risk.

Maine's Birds and Habitats

Eastern deciduous and northern boreal forests of Acadia National Park attract breeding songbirds and Common Loons. The islands and ledges of Penobscot and Machias bays provide habitat for Atlantic Puffins and other seabirds, as well as winter habitat for waterfowl. Scarborough Marsh encompasses Maine’s largest expanse of salt marsh and hosts Bald Eagles, Bobolinks, and Saltmarsh Sparrows. Baxter State Park is famed for the nearly mile-high Mount Katahdin and notable birds like Spruce Grouse and Northern Saw-whet Owls.

Audubon is working to protect the state’s birds and their critical habitat. Maine is home to Audubon’s Seabird Restoration Program (also known as Project Puffin), the Hog Island Audubon Camp, and international efforts to protect boreal birds.


Climate Policy in Maine

Electricity Generation Breakdown
74.8%
RENEWABLE
20.7% Wind
24% Biomass
30.1% Hydro
21.7%
FOSSIL FUEL
19.9% Natural Gas
.6% Coal
1.2% Petroleum
% Other
3.5%
OTHER
Greenhouse Gas Emissions Targets
45%
BELOW 1990
levels by 2030
80%
BELOW 1990
levels by 2050
Renewable Portfolio Standard
100%
BY 2050
Climate Alliance?
Member of US
No
Member of the US
Climate Alliance?
No

(Data: U.S. EIA)

The state aims to expand solar energy through two bipartisan bills passed in 2019.

Maine is a participant in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a cap-and-trade program in the northeastern and mid-Atlantic United States that aims to reduce carbon emissions from power plants.

Climate Threats Facing Birds and People in Maine

Maine has warmed 3 degrees Fahrenheit in the last century, twice as much as the rest of the nation, increasing the risk of floods and droughts and threatening vulnerable populations. Sea levels have risen up to eight inches since 1950 (depending on location) and could increase another six inches in the next 16 years, threatening coastal communities, eroding beaches and wetlands, and increasing damage from coastal storms. Warmer ocean water is causing a shift in the marine food web, harming fisheries and seabirds. In the coming decades, Maine will likely experience more frequent and intense precipitation events and shifting ecosystems.


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.

Birds tell us: It’s time to act. See how you can help improve the chances for three-quarters of species at risk.