Speed Reads

global warming ruins everything

Study: Climate change is threatening half of all North American bird species

A new study released Monday by the National Audubon Society is bad news for birds: If global warming continues at its quick pace, half of all bird species in the United States and Canada are at risk of major population decline by 2080.

"The scale of the disruption we're projecting is a real punch in the gut," Gary Langham, chief Audubon scientist, told the Los Angeles Times.

Researchers looked at more than 500 bird species, and found that more than 300 might be affected by changing environments, which means the birds must adapt to new habitats, precipitation levels, and temperatures in order to survive. The bald eagle could have its habitat decrease by 75 percent, the study says, while the common loon, Minnesota's state bird, could lose all of its habitat in the lower 48. Southern California's black oystercatcher could move up to British Columbia and Alaska.

This is the first comprehensive study of its kind, and federal wildlife officials will use it to come up with new strategies to conserve species. "It's not easy being a bird — and things are going to get harder still," Langham said. "But if you give nature half a chance, she responds."