Birds Push Northward to Cope with Climate Change

For quite some time we've discussed how birds are affected by climate change. Here is a new National Audubon Society study finds that global warming is forcing migratory birds to push their habitats northward. 

Researchers tracked the migration habits of 305 species of North American birds and found that half of them now spend the winter at least 35 miles north of where they were 4 decades ago.

According to the report, some–like the purple finch–are now hundreds of miles north of their historic range, while the Carolina wren — the state bird of South Carolina — is now regularly seen in New England.  Think of that: hundreds of miles.  As in, the distance from Washington, DC to Lake Ontario.

Researchers confirm that global warming is the main culprit.

"This is as close as science at this scale gets to proof," said Greg Butcher, Audubon's lead scientist on the paper. "It is not what each of these individual birds did.  It is the wide diversity of birds that suggests it has something to do with temperature, rather than ecology."

Fortunately, by investing in clean energies to reduce global warming, we can slow down these rapid habitat changes.

This is why we need to pass meaningful climate legislation ASAP. As Congress scrambles to sort out the state of our economy, please remind them to protect wildlife as well!

– By Peter LaFontaine.

Published: February 17, 2009