As Audubon members, we understand that climate plays a significant part in not only our health, but also the health of birds and the environment. In October 2019, the National Audubon Society released a new scientific report, Survival by Degrees, showing that two-thirds (64%) (389 out of 604) of North American bird species are at risk of extinction from climate change. The good news is our science also shows that taking action now can help improve the chances for 76% of species at risk. We know what to do to protect the birds we love and the places we all need now and in the future.
As Pennsylvania residents there are several things we can do now to help birds. We can be the voice birds need by advocating for the ecosystems at risk from climate change, like our forests, streams and rivers. Restoring and maintaining our forests and watersheds can provide valuable habitat and reduce the effects of climate-change induced temperature changes and erosion while making our communities more resilient. Through the Delaware River Watershed Program and a focus on watershed health, we can protect species like American Black Duck and Cerulean Warbler, both of which are vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. Maintenance of Heathy Forests will help highly vulnerable species, such as Wood Thrush and Scarlet Tanager, be more resilient to the impacts of climate change.
We can also help birds more directly through Bird-friendly Communities activities, including creating native habitat in our own yards, taking steps to remove invasive plant species in our communities, and reducing the risk of mosquito-borne diseases by eliminating standing water whenever possible. Yards and community parks can provide vital stopover habitat for birds in migration.
In addition to these actions and efforts, Audubon Pennsylvania is currently working to promote the passage of state House and Senate bills that would enable community solar applications across the commonwealth. House bill 531 and its Senate companion bill 705 would allow for increased solar usage across the state, thus contributing to a decrease in harmful emissions.
To explore climate change impacts on birds in Pennsylvania, visit Survival By Degrees: 389 Bird Species on the Brink.