The State of the Birds: 2010 Report on Climate Change
Birds are telling us an important story about climate change. The first State of the Birds report in 2009 revealed troubling declines of bird populations in the United States during the last 40 years—a warning signal of the failing health of our ecosystems. It also highlighted heartening evidence that concerted conservation efforts can make a positive difference in restoring habitats and reversing declines. In this 2010 State of the Birds report, we consider one of the greatest environmental challenges of our time: climate change. How will climate change affect birds and their habitats? Accelerated by human activities, climate change is altering the natural world as we know it and is diminishing the quality of our environment. Habitat loss and degradation not only threaten birds and other wildlife, but also threaten human and societal well-being. Because birds are good indicators of environmental conditions, their predicted changes illustrate how ecosystems are likely to change and they are telling us an important story. Some bird species will adapt and succeed, others will struggle and decline, and some will disappear. Instead of describing what has happened to bird populations, this report presents the first systematic analysis of what may happen to bird populations in each major biome of the United States as a consequence of climate change. This new assessment will aid in prioritizing and planning for conservation management. As the world works to stabilize climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions and managing lands, immediate actions are needed to give birds a fighting chance to survive. This report contains information about birds and their habitats, gives examples of what could happen due to climate change, and outlines suggested solutions and efforts needed to help address these issues. By following the conservation actions in this State of the Birds Climate Change report, together we can help ensure that future generations will enjoy the birds we are working to protect today.