Global Warming and a clean energy future

Securing a future for birds in a changing climate

Allen's Hummingbird is one of 170 bird species in California at risk from climate change. Photo: David Levinson

Global warming is a serious threat to California birds. A seven-year study from the National Audubon Society released in September 2014 finds that global warming threatens the survival of 170 California species in the coming decades. This includes iconic California birds such as the Brown Pelican, Allen’s Hummingbird, Yellow-billed Magpie, and many others. These are birds that all of us know well from our backyards and from our own experiences in California’s beautiful outdoors. 

Audubon California is addressing this challenge by protecting the habitats that we know birds will need now and into the future, and doing what we can to lessen the severity of global warming. We’ll do this work with a variety of partners on the ground and in the halls of the State Capitol and Washington, D.C.

But we won’t be able to rise to this challenge without the involvement of California residents who care about birds. We need people not only to join us in this important work, but to also raise their voices to call for meaningful policy and legislative action on global warming.

More about the Audubon study.

Audubon analyzed more than 40 years of historical North American climate data and millions of historical bird records from the U.S. Geological Survey’s North American Breeding Bird Survey and the Audubon Christmas Bird Count to understand the links between where birds live and the climatic conditions that support them. Of 588 bird species examined in the study, 314 species are considered at-risk. Hundreds of species not previously considered at risk will be challenged to survive in a climate-changed future. Understanding those links then allows scientists to project where birds are likely to be able to survive – and not survive – in the future. Learn more about the study.

California's climate threatened and endangered birds
Global Warming

California's climate threatened and endangered birds

Of the 314 North American birds identified by Audubon as either climate threatened or climate endangered, more than 170 commonly occur in California.

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Wildlife-Friendly Renewable Energy
Wildlife-friendly Renewable Energy

Wildlife-friendly Renewable Energy

Because we don't have to choose between renewable energy and wildlife protection.

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Birds suffer from air pollution, just like we do
Audublog

Air pollution is a direct threat to birds

Many of the same emissions that drive climate change pose direct health problems for bird populations.

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Global warming stories
Global Warming

Global warming stories

We asked people to talk about their favorite birds and global warming.

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Protecting nesting Western and Clark's Grebes

Protecting nesting Western and Clark's Grebes

Audubon California in 2010 launched an ambitious project to protect breeding Western and Clark’s Grebes at four lakes in Northern California.

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Black Oystercatcher and global warming
Global Warming

Black Oystercatcher and global warming

Black Oystercatchers face an uncertain future in a changing climate.

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Allen's Hummingbird and global warming
Birds

Allen's Hummingbird

The Allen's Hummingbird is one of California's most popular birds.

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Yellow-billed Magpie and global warming
Birds

Yellow-billed Magpie and global warming

The Yellow-billed Magpie could lose a large part of its range unless we address global warming.

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Long-billed Curlew and global warming
Birds

Long-billed Curlew

The Long-billed Curlew is North America's largest shorebird.

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Sonoma Creek enhancement
Sonoma Creek restoration

Sonoma Creek restoration

Audubon California and its partners are bringing back 400-acres of wetland habitat in San Pablo Bay for the benefit of a variety of birds, including the endangered Ridgeway's Rail.

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Protecting the Western Snowy Plover

Protecting the Western Snowy Plover

This site is devoted to the protection and recovery of the Western Snowy Plover, a small, rare, and threatened shorebird that makes its home on certain beaches on the Pacific coast.

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Legal troubles are mounting for the utility in charge of the Aliso Canyon natural gas storage field that has been leaking for the last three-and-a-half months. News agencies are also calling the event the Porter Ranch gas leak, in reference to the nearby housing community. As the Los Angeles Times reports, Los Angeles County officials have charged Southern California Gas Company with misdemeanor charges stemming from the leak, which could result in massive fines for the agency. The California attorney general has also signed on to class a action lawsuit from nearby residents seeking damages. The news comes as representatives of the utility claim that the leak may be stopped in the next few days, which will come as a huge relief to the thousands of nearby residents who have been dislocated because of the spill.

As we reported earlier, the California Air Resources Board estimated in late January that the Aliso Canyon leak had emitted the equivalent of 2.1 million metric tons of carbon dioxide. This is more greenhouse gas than 440,000 cars emit in a year. The immediate impact that this will have on birds is unclear. While we know that greenhouse gas emissions are predicted to have significant long-term effects on birds, it is less clear what the pollutants are doing to birds in the here and now.

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A California wildfire. Photo: Erick Pleltez

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Air pollution is a direct threat to birds

Many of the same emissions that drive climate change pose direct health problems for bird populations.

Global warming stories
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Global warming stories

We asked people to talk about their favorite birds and global warming.

Supporting state legislation to address global warming
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Supporting state legislation to address global warming

Audubon California is supporting a number of bills under consideration in the 2015 California legislative session that position our state as global leader in addressing global warming. We believe that this legislation offers great benefits to both birds and people. 

Diego Zapata talks about the Baltimore Oriole and global warming
Global Warming

Diego Zapata talks about the Baltimore Oriole and global warming

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