How Climate Change Will Affect Birds in New Mexico

Vulnerable Birds in New Mexico

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.

New Mexico

Flyway Central 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 Clark's Nutcracker's range be affected in New Mexico?

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 New Mexico 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 New Mexico at risk.

New Mexico's Birds and Habitats

Amidst New Mexico’s expansive arid lands, the Rio Grande and its tributaries provide wetland habitat for birds concentrated along its ribbon of life. This includes Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge, famed for the tens of thousands of Sandhill Cranes that winter along the river. Farther north along the Rio Grande, the piñon-juniper woodlands of Sandia Crest support Pinyon Jays, while in the southeast live Lesser Prairie-Chickens in the shortgrass and mixed-grass prairie.

Climate Policy in New Mexico

Electricity Generation Breakdown
13.7 % Wind
.1 % Biomass
.6 % Hydro
3.5 % Solar
27.2 % Natural Gas
54.8 % Coal
.1 % Petroleum
Greenhouse Gas Emissions Targets
BELOW 2005
levels by 2030
Renewable Portfolio Standard
BY 2040
Member of the US
Climate Alliance?

(Data: U.S. EIA)

In 2017, New Mexico added wind power capacity at a faster rate than any other state in the nation. The Energy Transition Act of 2019 establishes a 100-percent clean-energy goal for the state and provides economic support to coal-impacted regions. Audubon New Mexico supports inclusive clean-energy legislation that considers the diverse population and economy of New Mexico while prioritizing communities that are disproportionately affected by climate change.

Audubon New Mexico is helping restore and protect the state’s natural resources against climate change through its grasslands resiliency program, climate adaption on the Rio Grande initiative, and federal grants to restore Willow Flycatcher habitat.

Climate Threats Facing Birds and People in New Mexico

More frequent fires and drier conditions have expanded deserts, led to loss of pines due to beetle invasion, and reduced vegetation cover needed by nesting birds. Decreased water availability in the Rio Grande has put a strain on riparian ecosystems and the people and wildlife who depend on them. In the coming decades, New Mexico will likely experience increased frequency and intensity of wildfires, desertification of rangelands, and decreased water flows in the Colorado, Rio Grande, and other rivers.

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.