A national study says two-thirds of North American birds are at risk of extinction due to climate change.
The National Audubon Society released a new report showing 389 out of 604 birds are at risk if greenhouse gas emissions are not lowered by 45% by 2030.
According to the study, across the state of Oregon, without substantial climate change mitigation, average temperatures during the warmest months are expected to increase approximately 11 degrees Fahrenheit, affecting 136 bird species by the end of the century.
The most vulnerable species threatened by climate change include the rufous hummingbird, varied thrush, ruby-crowned kinglet, mountain bluebird, Vaux swift, greater sage grouse and pygmy owl.
“A lot of these species have a high probability of disappearing in the lifetimes of our children and our grandchildren. So it’s not just rare and imperiled species like the spotted owl and the marbled murrelet, we’re talking about species that we take for common,” said Bob Sallinger, conservation director for Portland Audubon.
In addition to changes in climate across North America, the study assessed the potential impacts of other forecasted threats related to climate change including sea-level rise, land use and extreme weather events.
“We have massive, massive amounts of data to look at — looking at different models and in the end they’re all telling us the same thing, which is birds are very imperiled. Huge numbers of species are at risk of extinction,” Salinger said. “It’s time to take action, we’re overdue. The time is now.”
If greenhouse gas emissions are lowered by the end of the century, the number of vulnerable species falls to 92.