How Climate Change Will Affect Minnesota's Birds

Vulnerable Birds in Minnesota

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.


Flyway Mississippi Flyway
State Brief Download [PDF]

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 Common Loon's range be affected in Minnesota?

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 Minnesota 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 Minnesota at risk.

Minnesota's Birds and Habitats

In northwest Minnesota, Tallgrass Aspen Parklands provide refuge for marsh birds under threat from agricultural development. Along the Mississippi River lies a migratory corridor, for birds like Cerulean Warblers, that will be especially important as low-lying forests decline. Around the state’s marshes and lakes, the eerie calls and rich yodeling of the Common Loon, Minnesota’s summer soundtrack, play on.

Climate Policy in Minnesota

Electricity Generation Breakdown
19% Wind
3.3% Biomass
2.1% Hydro
1% Solar
11.4% Natural Gas
38.8% Coal
.1% Petroleum
Greenhouse Gas Emissions Targets
BELOW 2005
levels by 2025
BELOW 2005
levels by 2050
Renewable Portfolio Standard
Climate Alliance?
Member of US
Member of the US
Climate Alliance?

(Data: U.S. EIA)

Minnesota is building on years of wind-energy growth with a community solar program. Many of the state’s clean energy initiatives are governor-led, and include collaborations with utilities, like Xcel Energy, and a goal of 100-percent decarbonization by 2050.

Climate Threats Facing Birds and People in Minnesota

Minnesota is the second-fastest warming state in the nation: Some areas have experienced temperature increases 3 degrees Fahrenheit in the last century. This heat threatens vulnerable communities, including children, the elderly, the sick, and the poor, and shortens winter recreation seasons. Flooding along the Red, St. Croix, Minnesota and Mississippi river basins disrupts navigation, riverfront communities, and tourism, and impacts bird habitats and water quality. In the coming decades, Minnesota will likely experience more extremely hot days that harm agriculture and public health, as well as shifting tree composition in the North Woods.

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