Scarlet Tanager. Photo: Johann Schumacher/Alam

How Climate Change Will Affect Birds in Ohio

Vulnerable Birds in Ohio

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 Scarlet Tanager's range be affected in Ohio?

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 Ohio 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 Ohio at risk.

Ohio's Birds and Habitats

In spring, forested wetlands at Magee Marsh Wildlife Area and neighboring coastal areas along Lake Erie fill with thousands of migrating songbirds; they rest here before crossing the lake and continuing toward breeding sites in Canada’s boreal forest. The sandy beaches and swamplands of Headlands Beach State Park host large concentrations of wintering waterfowl, loons, grebes, and gulls as well as Bald Eagles and Red-headed Woodpeckers. At Killdeer Plains Wildlife Area, Trumpeter Swans and Sandhill Cranes nest in wetlands and Short-eared Owls overwinter in grasslands.

Climate Policy in Ohio

Electricity Generation Breakdown
1.3 % Wind
.6 % Biomass
.2 % Hydro
.1 % Solar
2.41 % Natural Gas
57.2 % Coal
1 % Petroleum
Greenhouse Gas Emissions Targets
Renewable Portfolio Standard
BY 2026
Member of the US
Climate Alliance?

(Data: U.S. EIA)

Although Ohio leads the Midwest in coal retirements and power-sector decarbonization, carbon-emitting natural gas has replaced the gap left by coal instead of renewables. A troubling bill passed in 2019 charged consumers to bail out coal and nuclear plants while decreasing statewide renewable energy and energy-efficiency standards. At the same time, Ohio’s clean energy industry boasted 112,000 jobs in 2018—8,100 in solar, 1,000 in wind, and 81,600 in efficiency.

Climate Threats Facing Birds and People in Ohio

The frequency and intensity of precipitation and floods have increased, threatening navigation and riverfront communities along the Ohio River as well as lakefront communities, which are additionally threatened by rapid and uncertain fluctuations in Great Lakes water levels. Increasing temperatures in Lake Erie have reduced ice cover and degraded water quality, causing algal blooms that harm fish populations. In the coming decades, Ohio will likely experience more severe storms, greater flooding, and harsher 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.