Audubon Report Details How New York Birds Could Suffer From Climate Change

Charis Tsevis for The Audubon Society
Charis Tsevis for The Audubon Society

It’s been no secret to volunteers who participate in the Audubon Society’s Christmas Bird Count on the East End that the patterns of bird movements have changed dramatically over the past half century, in part due to changes in climate.

A report issed by the National Audubon Society this week shows that half the birds studied in North America are threatened by climate change, including New York birds ranging from the wood thrush to the purple finch to the common loon.

The seven-year-long study, funded by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, examined 588 species of birds. It determined that 126 species are at risk of severe decline due to climate change by the year 2050, while 314 species are at risk by 2080 if the current level of greenhouse gas emissions continues.

A guide to the birds at risk in New York State is online here.

Ornithologists working on the report analyzed more than 40 years of North American climate data and records from the U.S. Geological Survey’s North American Breeding Bird Survey and the
Audubon Christmas Bird Count, looking for  the links between where birds live and the climatic conditions — rainfall, temperature and humidity — that they need to survive.

“Now, more than ever, we have a responsibility to be the voice of the birds and aggressively combat the urgent threat of climate change by further reducing greenhouse gas emissions and protecting the places that birds need to thrive and survive now and into the future,” said Erin Crotty, Executive Director of Audubon New York.

“New York State has been on the cutting edge of efforts to address climate change for decades, and we must do more to further reduce greenhouse gas emissions and further protect vital habitat for birds,” she added. “While some species will be able to adapt to shifting climates, many of North America’s most familiar and iconic species will not, unless we act now.”

Beth Young

Beth Young has been covering the East End since the 1990s. In her spare time, she runs around the block, tinkers with bicycles, tries not to drown in the Peconic Bay and hopes to grow the perfect tomato. You can send her a message at

2 thoughts on “Audubon Report Details How New York Birds Could Suffer From Climate Change

  • September 13, 2014 at 10:23 pm

    wind farms kill birds

  • September 15, 2014 at 9:07 am

    Very factual reporting.
    What I think this study shows is that climate change will effect not only birds but we must get ready for change in every aspect of the world we have grown up in.

    “The process of fine adjustment and of endless experimentation over long periods of time is called evolution, the result of changes too sudden for nature to provide for is called extinction.” Roger Caras

    Are we as humans changing too quickly. Food for thought. rk


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