National Audubon Society Receives Popular Mechanics Breakthrough Award for Birds and Climate Study

The National Audubon Society today received a Popular Mechanics Breakthrough Award for Audubon's birds and climate change study (, which identifies hundreds of North American bird species at risk from climate change. The honorees will be recognized in the November issue of Popular Mechanics, available on newsstands October 14, and also celebrated at an awards ceremony in New York City this evening.

“For ten years, the Breakthrough Awards have unearthed and honored some of the most important innovations in America,” said Ryan D’Agostino, editor-in-chief of Popular Mechanics. “This year, for the first time, we focus entirely on achievements that are having an immediate impact on our culture – the people, things, and ideas that are making a real difference right now. We are honored to be able to tell the world about them.”

Audubon was honored for its study that shows how climate change could affect future bird populations. Audubon’s study is more extensive and revealing than any projection of bird populations ever attempted. For the past seven years, Audubon Chief Scientist Gary Langham and his team culled data from decades of population and breeding records, combining it with projections for 17 different climatic variables. For 314 of the 588 North American avian species studied, livable zones will shrink by more than half by 2080. There are, however, strongholds where some species’ future climate range overlaps with their present ones.

Audubon and this year’s other winners join an illustrious list of past Breakthrough Award recipients including SpaceX and Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk, film director James Cameron, XPRIZE Foundation founder Peter Diamandis, Oculus VR founder Palmer Luckey, genomics pioneer J. Craig Venter, and humanitarian engineer Amy Smith.

The full list of this year’s honorees and more information about the Breakthrough Awards can be found on the Popular Mechanics website (

Popular Mechanics’ story about Audubon’s work is at

For more information about Audubon’s study, see


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