National Audubon Society 2019 Climate Report

by Lewis Young, Conservation Committee

Red-Breasted Nuthatch Photo Credit: Blackford Collection
Red-Breasted Nuthatch Photo Credit: Blackford Collection

In 2014, National Audubon Society published a report documenting the effects of climate change on birds. This 2019 report revisits the same subject. It utilizes peer-reviewed data to look at the vulnerability of birds across North America to climate change based on a new, updated scientific analysis. 

One of the key findings of the report was that 64% of species (389 of 604) across breeding and non-breeding seasons were moderately or highly vulnerable to climate change. However, climate change vulnerability was not evenly distributed across habitats. For instance, boreal forest birds (98%) and western forest birds (86%) were more vulnerable to climate change compared to aridland and marshlands (45% and 41%, respectively).

Another key finding was that climate change mitigation will reduce vulnerability for 76% of birds. 

Part 1 of the report outlines the key findings of this new climate change vulnerability assessment for North American birds. In Part 2, Audubon takes a closer look at how the threats associated with climate change will affect birds. This section explores in depth which species and places are most at risk to climate-driven changes in their environment, including sea level rise, urban and cropland conversion, and extreme weather. Finally, Part 3 outlines Audubon’s strategy for addressing the causes and consequences of climate change by translating scientific knowledge into action to protect birds and people from the threat of climate change.

Although the report is lengthy to cover all the species, habitats, and applicable science it is still fairly easy to read and get the key findings. The full report is available online at National Audubon (