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Michigan bird species threatened by climate change, report says

Sep 15, 2014

The common loon is one of the climate-endangered species in Michigan.
Credit User: jackanapes / Flickr

 

A recent report from the National Audubon Society points to troubling times ahead for our bird population.

Climate change could make some huge changes for birds in North America: About half of our 650 species would be driven to smaller spaces or forced to find totally new places to live or become extinct – all of this in just the next 65 years.

Jonathan Lutz is the executive director of the Michigan Audubon Society. He says in Michigan, about 50 species are vulnerable to the changing climate.

For example, common loon, symbol of the north, is one of the climate-endangered species. That means without addressing the climate change issue, we could be losing them. 

Some common backyard birds, such as scarlet tanager and the white-breasted nuthatch, are climate threatened. That means their ranges will shift and the birds will possibly move and populate in new areas.

However, Lutz says birds are resilient, and we can help protect them by committing to the right change including:

  • Protecting the areas that species depend on and support the diversity of species
  • Reducing carbon emissions 

"Birds are indicators of our own wellbeing ... Even if you're not a bird lover, think of birds as the signals for your healthy community and for your healthy state of Michigan," says Lutz.

* Listen to our conversation with Jonathan Lutz above.