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Climate change threatens bird species with extinction, study says

Climate change threatens bird species with extinction, study says

People can type in their zip codes to Audubon's Birds and Climate Visualizer to see how climate change will impact their specific community and local birds. "The good news is that there are actions we can take today to mitigate the worst effects of a changing climate".

"More than we thought are vulnerable", said Jeff Wells of the Audubon Society, which crunched 140 million records from 70 data sources on 604 different species for the study released Thursday.

"Those are a few of the examples of some of the species", Wells says, "but there's, unfortunately, many more, including numerous other songsters like warblers and sparrows and songbirds that are among those that we are most likely to lose". Climate change, however, was not the major driver of the population plunge, said Ken Rosenberg, an applied conservation scientist at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the American Bird Conservancy.

David Mears with Audubon Vermont says it's up to everyone to help.

Scientists say birds are an important indicator species because if an ecosystem can't support birds, it is often unfit for people too.

"Climate change is both a direct threat to birds and other wildlife but also a driver of nearly every other threat, that exacerbates their effects", he said. The study showed that more than half of the bird species in North America could lose at least half of their current ranges by 2080 because of rising temperatures.

More news: Advance polls for federal election open Friday

Audubon's report is based on the most up to date Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC, 2014) report models for 1.5, 2.0 and 3.0 degrees C of global warming. At the highest warming scenario of 3.0 C, 305 bird species face three or more climate-related impacts.

If steps aren't taken to reduce climate change, Yarnold warned, the reality could be worse than the model's predictions.

Last month, Science published a study by a joint team of conservation biologists describing a grim picture: a steady decline of almost three billion North American birds since 1970, primarily as a result of human activities.

"What this means for birds is that plants and the insects that live on them that they're expecting to find when they migrate, aren't there", Bonner said. "When I was a child, my grandmother introduced me to the common loons that lived on the lake at my grandparent's home in northern Wisconsin". In South Carolina, we represent more than 20,000 Audubon members and supporters, nine Audubon chapters and bird club partners, two Audubon centers and 22,000 acres of land that we own and manage. "Those loons are what drive my work today and I can't imagine them leaving the USA entirely in summer but that's what we're facing if trends continue". "Most birds will likely experience multiple, compounding threats - unless we curb emissions and prioritize conserving the areas, identified by the models, that will be critical to climate-threatened birds".

Renee Stone, vice president of climate for the National Audubon Society, called on elected officials to treat climate change as a priority going forward.


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