Sedge Wren. Photo: Kathryn Cubert/Audubon Photography Awards

How Climate Change Will Affect Birds in Michigan

Vulnerable Birds in Michigan

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.


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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 Sedge Wren's range be affected in Michigan?

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 Michigan 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 Michigan at risk.

Michigan's Birds and Habitats

Michigan’s 3,000 miles of Great Lakes coastline are rich in birdlife: Its beaches host the largest breeding population of federally endangered Great Lakes Piping Plovers, and the wetlands of St. Clair Flats are home to the region’s largest breeding colony of Black Terns. Pointe Mouillee State Game Area’s 4,040 acres of Lake Erie wetlands provide habitat for waterfowl and shorebirds, while Tawas Point on Lake Huron is an important rest stop for migrating birds in spring and fall.

Climate Policy in Michigan

Electricity Generation Breakdown
4.6 % Wind
2.2 % Biomass
1.5 % Hydro
23.1 % Natural Gas
37.2 % Coal
1 % Petroleum
Greenhouse Gas Emissions Targets
BELOW 2005
levels by 2020
BELOW 2005
levels by 2050
Renewable Portfolio Standard
BY 2021
Member of the US
Climate Alliance?

(Data: U.S. EIA)

Michigan has cut coal-powered energy generation by nearly half in the last decade, in large part due to the Clean, Renewable, and Efficient Energy Act of 2008 and subsequent legislation, which requires state electricity providers to supply 15 percent renewable energy by 2021. Some of the largest utilities have increased investment in wind and solar power, as well as energy-efficiency programs for low-income families. As of 2018, the state had more than 120,000 clean energy jobs, the fifth-largest number in the country.

Climate Threats Facing Birds and People in Michigan

Michigan has warmed 2 to 3 degrees Fahrenheit in the last century, reducing ice cover and worsening algal blooms on the four Great Lakes that border the state. In the coming decades, Michigan will likely experience rapid and uncertain Great Lakes water level fluctuations, stronger storms, harsher droughts, and increased heat-related illnesses.

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.