If you are a young Audubon member, you may want to start snapping pictures of as many birds as possible. A new report out from the National Audubon Society looks at the dangers facing North American birds from climate change. For those of you that are readers, it is quite the report.

Look outside. See the birds common to your state? That will change as the planet warms over the next six decades or so. State birds will quickly move north and out of their namesake states.

The effect of global warming will be that half of the more than 588 species of North American bird species will either shrink significantly or be pushed out of its normal habitat. Fly south for the winter? Hardly. The birds will be pushed north or face extinction.

You’ve seen the UN climate reports, or other studies showing the perils facing animals. But this report? It has to be the most in-depth report for a subset of the animal kingdom. Sure, you will hear the knee jerk reaction of well it’s snowing here, so take that global warming. It never occurs to them that whatever town is having snow does not mean it’s snowing globally.

The Audubon report shows what will happen if the birds are forced to rapidly change their natural ranges. This isn’t some species adaptation. It is more like a full-on retreat from the climate.

Soil and food will become a major problem for up to 188 species that will have to expand their range. Up to 126 species will see their range shrink, causing them to land on the endangered species list.

There are some winners from climate change according to the Audubon Society. Robins and Cardinals will appear all over the place. Love the squawking of crows in the morning? I hope so, because climate change will expand their range tremendously.

The mourning dove will also expand its range across North America. Some people find the singing of the dove grating, so prepare yourself.

Problems With the Report?

There are some issues with the giant report. One, it hasn’t been peer-reviewed. The Society submitted it to a scientific journal, but it hasn’t been accepted yet. That has some scientists jumping on the report over its methods of research.

Others are saying that it lines up with other reports that paint a dire picture. It does have something going for it. It is well laid out and easy to navigate. It isn’t your typical journal article that has the average person’s eyes glazing over by the time they get past the sheer number of authors. MLA citation? Time for a damn nap.

Read the full report on their site. Even if you don’t believe in man-made climate change, I think we can all agree that we need to protect the environment. It is, after all, our collective backyards.


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