Climate crisis threatens birds everywhere

Global warming is the greatest risk to birds in all of human history. I believe it is time for everyone to do their part and fight for our planet.


by Iris Roddy, Writer



Every winter when I was younger, I spent hours looking out the back windows of my house at birds fluttering around our feeder, making a game of identifying the different species. I’d see blue jays carry off peanuts and red-bellied woodpeckers eating bird suet upside down, all while listening to mourning doves coo softly from the power lines. 

We risk losing all of this.

According to an article by CNN, the United States and Canada have lost 2.9 billion birds in the last 50 years. That’s almost 30% of the former population. There are lots of reasons behind this decline — loss of habitat, deforestation, deadly pesticides and roaming cats are a few — but the main culprit is the climate crisis.

Global warming is the greatest risk to birds in all of human history. Out of The Guardian’s list of ten species most at risk from climate change, the top two are birds. And according to the National Audubon Society, two-thirds of all bird species in North America are at risk of extinction due to climate change mainly because temperatures are increasing too rapidly for birds to adapt to them.

In order to compensate for warmer temperatures birds alter their behavioral patterns. Already their migration, breeding, reproduction and nesting schedules have shifted, causing many to be out of sync with their food sources. As global warming escalates this will only grow worse and many species at risk of losing their native habitats will become extinct. Birds and other wildlife are already losing their homes due to wildfires, rising sea levels, floods and more effects of global warming.

It’s time for people to start paying attention. Birds are called “indicator species” by many scientists, which means if their ecosystem is suffering, humans will suffer soon as well.

It is incredibly important to care about this particular effect of the climate crisis because it will permanently alter our day-to-day life. Losing two-thirds of North America’s bird species would have a dramatic effect on humans since birds are of great economic use to us; they disperse seeds, pollinate plants, fertilize soil, control pests with potential to devastate crops and more. If pest populations get out of control this could cause massive food shortages of  wheat, corn and rice. It’s important for everyone to know about these risks so we can all do our part to help out.

So, how can you combat the climate crisis and help protect our feathered friends?

Individual actions really do add up. Reduce your emissions by driving less. You can do this by taking public transportation, biking or walking instead of using your car. Always reuse and recycle goods when possible and buy local produce. If you really want to help out your native bird species, put up feeders during the winter, use native plants and skip on the pesticides to create a bird-friendly habitat in you own backyard.

It’s not too late to do your part. Just like canaries warned coal miners of deadly carbon monoxide, birds of all species now sound the alarm for the climate crisis. It’s time to listen up.