Audubon: Vermont’s state bird threatened by climate change

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NEWPORT — The National Audubon Society and its state office, Audubon Vermont in Huntington, recently announced a climate report suggesting that two-thirds of North American birds are at risk of extinction from climate change.

In the study “Survival by Degrees: 389 Bird Species on the Brink,” Audubon scientists examined climate-related impacts on birds across the continental United States.

Using advanced research methods and expanded data sets, the scientists reveal that two-thirds of bird species in North America are at-risk of extinction as a result of the climate crisis unless immediate action is taken to curb additional warming.

In Vermont, many of the state’s favorite bird species are vulnerable as a result of the climate crisis including the Common Loon, the White-throated Sparrow, and the Hermit Thrush, Vermont’s state bird.

According to the report, the changing climate will negatively impact migratory routes, breeding grounds, and food availability for most of Vermont’s birds.

Another major risk to birds are extreme weather events associated with a warming planet, such as the major flood events now increasingly common.

These impacts of the climate crisis are in addition to other ongoing threats to birds such as sprawl development and the spread of invasive species, which results in the loss of important bird habitat.

“Our own future and the future for Vermont’s birds depends upon the leaders of tomorrow,” said Rae Bronenkant, Audubon Vermont’s newly-minted youth leadership coordinator. “We must empower today’s youth with the resources and support necessary to spearhead solutions to the climate crisis.”

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

“We really need to double down on the kinds of investments we’ve made in the past with public policy and public resources,” Mears said. “And we’ve also proven that in doing that, it also increases our overall prosperity. There is no conflict in the state of Vermont between our economic progress and our ecological progress.”