Ruffed Grouse. Photo: Ryan Carter/Alamy

How Climate Change Will Affect Birds in Pennsylvania

Vulnerable Birds in Pennsylvania

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 Ruffed Grouse's range be affected in Pennsylvania?

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 Pennsylvania 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 Pennsylvania at risk.

Pennsylvania's Birds and Habitats

In central Pennsylvania, the hardwood forests of Bald Eagle State Park host Ruffed Grouse, Ovenbirds, and Hooded Warblers. On the shores of Lake Erie in Presque Isle State Park, waterfowl find shelter from winter storms and migrants rest in spring and fall. Kittatinny Ridge is a raptor-migration corridor, and nearby deciduous forests support Wood Thrushes and Canada Warblers. Within the Delaware River Watershed, forests, parks, and open space provide critical habitat for birds, while Delaware Bay’s marshes and beaches serve as vital stopover points for migratory shorebirds.

Climate Policy in Pennsylvania

Electricity Generation Breakdown
1.7 % Wind
1.1 % Biomass
1.5 % Hydro
33.8 % Natural Gas
22.2 % Coal
0.2 % Petroleum
Greenhouse Gas Emissions Targets
BELOW 2005
levels by 2025
BELOW 2005
levels by 2050
Renewable Portfolio Standard
Member of the US
Climate Alliance?

(Data: U.S. EIA)

Pennsylvania’s clean energy economy is expanding, with over 90,000 employees as of 2019. The state released a climate action plan in 2018, though it may require stronger implementation plans.

Pennsylvania 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 Pennsylvania

Flooding along the Ohio and Allegheny Rivers in Pennsylvania disrupts commercial navigation and threatens riverfront communities. Sea levels have risen by one foot along some parts of the Delaware River and will likely rise up to three feet in the next century, harming coastal communities, eroding beaches and wetlands, and threatening drinking water supplies for millions. In the coming decades, Pennsylvania will likely experience increased flooding and disrupted 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.