How Climate Change Will Affect Vermont's Birds

Black-throated Blue Warbler. Photo: Denise Campbell/Alamy

Vulnerable Birds in Vermont

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.

Vermont

Flyway Atlantic Flyway
State Brief Download [PDF]
Website http://vt.audubon.org

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 Black-throated Blue Warbler's range be affected in Vermont?

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 Vermont 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 Vermont at risk.

Vermont's Birds and Habitats

Vermont packs more than 380 bird species into 10,000 square miles. Along Lake Champlain, American Woodcocks perform dizzying courtship rituals while Golden-winged Warblers find refuge in young forest and shrub habitat. Hardwood and mixed forests cover three-quarters of the state, providing nesting habitat for Wood Thrushes and Black-throated Blue Warblers in the Green Mountains.

Audubon Vermont is working to protect these and other birds along with their critical habitat through its Healthy Forests and Working Lands programs, which includes initiatives like its Bird-Friendly Maple Project.


Climate Policy in Vermont

Electricity Generation Breakdown
99.6%
RENEWABLE
14.3% Wind
20.9% Biomass
59.8% Hydro
4.6% Solar
.4%
FOSSIL FUEL
.1% Natural Gas
.3% Petroleum
Greenhouse Gas Emissions Targets
40%
BELOW 1990
levels by 2030
90%
BELOW 1990
levels by 2050
Renewable Portfolio Standard
None
Climate Alliance?
Member of US
No
Member of the US
Climate Alliance?
No

Though Vermont’s in-state electricity generation is largely renewable, it purchases the majority of its power from out of state, and much of that is fossil fuels or nuclear power. Additionally, electricity currently constitutes only 14 percent of Vermont’s total energy use; the majority comes from burning fossil fuels for transportation and heating. Electric vehicles, electric heat pumps, sustainably-sourced firewood, and properly sited solar and wind installations are all climate solutions for the state. Cities, organizations, and young activists in Vermont are pushing for carbon reductions—as shown by Burlington’s net-zero energy goal by 2030 and Vermont Climate Coalition’s 2019 Climate Action Plan—revealing a growing desire for climate action.

Vermont 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 Vermont

Vermont has warmed more than 2 degrees Fahrenheit in the last century. More intense storms contribute to floods that damage infrastructure and property and alter habitats. In the coming decades, Vermont will likely experience heavier precipitation and shifting ecosystems; at greatest risk are the state's boreal forests.


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.