How Climate Change Will Affect Wyoming's Birds

Greater Sage-Grouse. Photo: Ronan Donovan/Audubon Photography Awards

Vulnerable Birds in Wyoming

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.

Wyoming

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 Greater Sage-Grouse's range be affected in Wyoming?

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 Wyoming 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 Wyoming at risk.

Wyoming's Birds and Habitats

Grand Teton National Park supports hundreds of migrating and breeding birds, and Yellowstone National Park provides nesting habitat for songbirds like Yellow Warblers and Willow Flycatchers. Wyoming supports more sagebrush steppe—habitat for the Greater Sage-Grouse and some 350 wildlife species, including 90 bird species—than any other state.

Audubon Rockies is working to protect birds and their critical habitat through its Habitat Hero program, Conservation Ranching Initiative, and four other core programs.


Climate Policy in Wyoming

Electricity Generation Breakdown
11.6%
RENEWABLE
9.2% Wind
2.4% Hydro
87.5%
FOSSIL FUEL
1.7% Natural Gas
85.7% Coal
.1% Petroleum
.9%
OTHER
Greenhouse Gas Emissions Targets
None
Renewable Portfolio Standard
None
Climate Alliance?
Member of US
No
Member of the US
Climate Alliance?
No

(Data: U.S. EIA)

Though Wyoming is one of the nation’s largest coal producers, it also has one of the highest wind-power potentials. The state’s wind-energy capacity is on pace to more than double. Nearly one-third of the state’s solar energy was installed in 2016 alone, suggesting solar power growth is accelerating as well. Though market forces are pushing the early retirement of coal plants, recent legislation has tried to extend their lives while potential increases in wind taxes threaten clean-energy development.

Climate Threats Facing Birds and People in Wyoming

In Wyoming, inflexible water management, increasing temperatures, and decreased precipitation have contributed to aridification of the Green River Basin and other western waterways, threatening local economies and communities. Increased temperatures have decreased snowpack levels, shortening the season for winter tourism and causing glaciers to retreat. In the coming decades, Wyoming will likely experience decreased water availability, reduced agricultural yields, and greater fire risk.


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.