How Climate Change Will Affect New York's Birds

Piping Plover. Photo: Lorraine Minns/Audubon Photography Awards

Vulnerable Birds in New York

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 York

Flyway

State Brief

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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 Piping Plover's range be affected in New York?

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 York 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 York at risk.

New York's Birds and Habitats

The Long Island Sound provides critical habitat for many priority species, including Piping Plovers, Saltmarsh Sparrows, and Sanderlings. Along the state’s Great Lakes shores, millions of migratory birds are greeted with shelter, food, and rest during their long journeys. In the Adirondacks, more than 6 million acres of forest support breeding Wood Thrushes, Black-throated Blue Warblers, and American Woodcocks. And during spring and fall migration, hundreds of species funnel into Manhattan’s Central Park to rest amid the skyscrapers.

Audubon New York is working to protect birds and their critical habitats along the Atlantic coast.


Climate Policy in New York

Electricity Generation Breakdown
28.6%
RENEWABLE
3.2% Wind
1.8% Biomass
23.5% Hydro
.1% Solar
32.8%
NUCLEAR
37.9%
FOSSIL FUEL
36.8% Natural Gas
.6% Coal
.5% Petroleum
10%
OTHER
Greenhouse Gas Emissions Targets
30%
BELOW 2005
levels by 2025
80%
BELOW 2005
levels by 2050
Renewable Portfolio Standard
26.5%
BY 2025
Climate Alliance?
Member of US
Yes
Member of the US
Climate Alliance?
Yes

(Data: U.S. EIA)

New York aims to reduce emissions holistically and efficiently, enacting emissions caps for buildings, a traffic congestion surcharge, an offshore wind plan, and solar incentives. Guiding these climate programs is the State Energy Plan, a comprehensive roadmap to building a clean, resilient, and affordable energy system. New York strives to meet the ambitious goals set forth in the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, which mandates 85 percent reduction in emissions and economy-wide carbon neutrality by 2050.

New York 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 New York

Sea levels along New York’s marine coast have risen some nine inches since 1950, and could rise another six inches in the next 14 years, threatening resident and migratory birds and challenging the resilience of millions of people in communities along the Atlantic Ocean and Long Island Sound. Storm surges and hurricanes will also intensify, as shown by the extreme impacts of Hurricane Sandy in 2012. Great Lakes communities face more and worse algal blooms and pollution overflows, threatening water supplies. In the coming decades, New York will likely experience greater extreme heat events, increased coastal and inland flooding, and disrupted forest 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.