How Climate Change Will Affect North Dakota's Birds

Chestnut-collared Longspur. Photo: All Canada Photos/Alamy

Vulnerable Birds in North Dakota

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.

North Dakota

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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 Chestnut-collared Longspur's range be affected in North Dakota?

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 North Dakota 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 North Dakota at risk.

North Dakota's Birds and Habitats

In North Dakota, waterbirds such as the Northern Pintail and Western Grebe live throughout the Prairie Pothole Region, an area, sometimes called the nation’s duck factory, that provides crucial habitat for migrating waterfowl and grassland birds. To the east, the Sandhills and Ojata Prairies host some of the state's most sought-after birds, including the Sharp-tailed Grouse, Greater Prairie-Chicken, Chestnut-collared Longspur, and Bobolink.

Audubon Dakota’s expanding Working Lands program has helped maintain more than 170,000 acres of grasslands in the northern Great Plains.

Climate Policy in North Dakota

Electricity Generation Breakdown
27.4% Wind
6.2% Hydro
1.6% Natural Gas
64.5% Coal
0.1% Petroleum
Greenhouse Gas Emissions Targets
Renewable Portfolio Standard
BY 2015
Climate Alliance?
Member of US
Member of the US
Climate Alliance?

(Data: U.S. EIA)

North Dakota ranks eleventh in the country in installed wind energy capacity, a figure that has more than doubled since 2010. Properly sited wind installations also provide significant economic opportunity for rural communities: In North Dakota, farmers and ranchers receive between $5 million and $10 million annually for hosting wind turbines on their land. North Dakota’s abundant prairie grasslands sequester carbon, especially when managed using regenerative grazing practices.

Climate Threats Facing Birds and People in North Dakota

North Dakota has warmed about 2 degrees Fahrenheit in the last century. Rising temperatures have intensified storms and threatened vulnerable people, including children, the elderly, the sick, and the poor, and greater precipitation has also increased the risk of flooding along major rivers. In the coming decades, North Dakota will likely experience heat waves and droughts.

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.