Category Archives: Conservation

Field Guide to the Future: Nearly Half of North America’s Birds at Risk from Global Warming

Nearly half of the bird species in the continental U.S. and Canada are threatened by global warming. Many of these species could go extinct without decisive action to protect their habitats and reduce the severity of global warming. That’s the startling conclusion reached by Audubon scientists in a new study.

Here in Pennsylvania, birds threatened by global warming include Purple Finch, Baltimore Oriole, Bald Eagle, and Wild Turkey.

Of 588 bird species examined in the study, 314 are at risk. Of those, 126 species are at risk of severe declines by 2050, and a further 188 species face the same fate by 2080, with numerous extinctions possible if global warming is allowed to erase the havens birds occupy today.

“The greatest threat our birds face today is global warming,” said Audubon Chief Scientist Gary Langham, who led the investigation. “That’s our unequivocal conclusion after seven years of painstakingly careful and thorough research. Global warming threatens the basic fabric of life on which birds – and the rest of us – depend, and we have to act quickly and decisively to avoid catastrophe for them and us.”

To understand the links between where birds live and the climatic conditions that support them, Langham and other Audubon ornithologists analyzed 30 years of historical North American climate data and tens of thousands of historical bird records from the U.S. Geological Survey’s North American Breeding Bird Survey and the Audubon Christmas Bird Count. Understanding those links then allowed scientists to project where birds are likely to be able to survive – and not survive – in the future.

The study also reveals areas that are likely to remain stable for birds even as climate changes, enabling Audubon to identify “stronghold” areas that birds will need to survive in the future.

The result is a roadmap for bird conservation in coming decades under a warming climate. The study provides a key entry point for Audubon’s greater engagement on the urgent issue of global warming. Responding to the magnitude of the threat to our birds, Audubon is greatly expanding its climate initiative, aiming to engage a larger and more diverse set of voices in support of protecting birds.

Solutions will include personal choices to conserve energy and create backyard bird habitat, local action to create community climate action plans, state-based work to increase rooftop solar and energy efficiency, and our work in Important Bird Areas and other efforts to protect and expand bird habitats.

The results of Audubon’s Climate Report are currently available online at climate.audubon.org. There, you can find the science and effects on birds — down to the species — in arresting detail. For even more information — and potential solutions — check out the current issue of Audubon Magazine, fully available online alongside Audubon’s Climate Report.

Upper Delaware BioBlitz Reveals Thriving Diversity in Sullivan County

Children enjoy a lesson on aquatic insects. Photo by Roy Morsch.

Over 800 Species Identified on Tusten, NY Property

Hundreds of community members took advantage of the unusual, free opportunity to interact with over 55 scientists and amateur naturalists participating in the second annual Upper Delaware BioBlitz on June 29th, 2014 in Sullivan County, NY.

The official count of 807 species identified in 24 hours at the BioBlitz is growing as the 9 research teams submit their final tallies after confirming and revising initial IDs.

Barbara Leo, of the Northeast Pennsylvania Audubon Society, noted her bird team research highlights to be, “the Louisiana and Northern Waterthrushes which are generally found by their territorial singing in late April and May respectively. These were both by direct observation in the habitats that were expected to support them. The other really nice find was an Ovenbird nest with an incubating female and 3 eggs. Most birders never get to see this warbler let alone find their nest, which is concealed on the ground. The two singing Hooded Warblers on the yellow dot trail at Ten Mile Access was, also, a very nice surprise.”

The primary goal of a BioBlitz is to compile a snapshot survey of the life on a particular property as an indicator of the biodiversity of the area. Other goals include raising public awareness, fostering scientific interests in children, and providing opportunities for collaboration and interdisciplinary research.

Next year’s Upper Delaware BioBlitz will be on the Pennsylvania side of the river. For more information the public can visit www.upperdelawarebioblitz.com.

Read the full press release here.

Project Puffin and the Seabirds of Maine

Come enjoy the stunning photography of Chris Fischer while learning about the seabirds of Maine and National Audubon’s seabird conservation efforts. Our annual election of board officers and directors will follow the presentation.

Atlantic Puffin Chick

An Atlantic Puffin chick being held by a seabird researcher on Seal Island National Wildlife Refuge in Maine.
Seal Island is a field station for National Audubon Society’s Seabird Restoration Program, most well known
as Project Puffin. Photo (c) 2013 Chris Fischer Photography.

When? Mon., July 7, 2014 at 7pm.
Where? Chamber of Commerce, Commercial St., Honesdale

Atlantic Puffins, Razorbills and Storm-petrels are just a few of the seabird species captured by local photographer Chris Fischer while documenting the work of Project Puffin for several weeks last spring/summer on islands in the Gulf of Maine.

Come enjoy Chris’ eye-catching photography while learning about the seabirds of Maine and National Audubon’s seabird conservation efforts. You’ll get a “behind the curtains” look at the life of a seabird biologist, and Chris is sure to share a captivating story or two about his experiences as well.

Learn more about Chris and see examples of his work at www.ChrisFischerPhotography.com.

Election of Officers and Directors

All members of the Northeast Pennsylvania Audubon Society are invited to stay following the presentation as we elect our board officers and directors for 2014/15. Questions? Interested in learning more about becoming involved on the board? Call (570) 253-9250.