Survival by Degrees: 389 Bird Species on the Brink

Two-thirds of North American birds are at increasing risk of extinction from global temperature rise.

As the climate changes, so will the places birds need.

Audubon scientists took advantage of 140 million observations, recorded by birders and scientists, to describe where 604 North American bird species live today—an area known as their “range.” They then used the latest climate models to project how each species’s range will shift as climate change and other human impacts advance across the continent.

The results are clear: Birds will be forced to relocate to find favorable homes. And they may not survive.

If we take action now, we can improve the chances for hundreds of bird species.

By stabilizing carbon emissions and holding warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels, 76 percent of vulnerable species will be better off, and nearly 150 species would no longer be vulnerable to extinction from climate change.

Click the three different warming scenarios to explore how increased warming makes more species vulnerable.

Read the Special Climate Issue of Audubon Magazine 

Our science shows that climate change threatens 389 species. This issue of Audubon focuses on solutions to help these birds. 

Great Gray Owl. Mosaic: Charis Tsevis. Owl reference photo: Niall Benvie/NPL/Minden Pictures
Great Gray Owl. Mosaic: Charis Tsevis. Photo: Niall Benvie/NPL/Minden Pictures

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Data visualizations and design: Stamen Design. Cover animation: Alex Tomlinson/Audubon; Photos.
Site build: Vilien Zein & Alexander Roy & Andrey Koshkin.