Audubon has launched a pilot program called Climate Watch. The plan is to use bluebirds and nuthatch observations to validate Audubon’s predictions on how birds’ territory ranges will shift in response to a changing climate.

Audubon released its Birds and Climate Change Report in 2014. It used Christmas Bird Count and Breeding Bird Survey data to model how different bird species’ preferred climatic conditions, like temperature and rainfall, may shift in response to climate change.  Although based on data the models were educated guesses.

By studying common, easy-to-identify birds the program hopes to establish base-line information and then track changes over time.

Many models that attempt to predict changes in territory rely on the fundamental assumption that a species’ preferred climatic conditions won’t change. That is, birds will search for the climate they’re used to rather than to trying to adjust to the climate change in their historic range. Climate Watch allows scientists to test this underlying assumption, in addition to seeing whether birds match the model’s predictions.

Birds included in the study include all three bluebird species plus White-breasted, Red-breasted, Brown-headed and Pygmy Nuthatches.

Mountain Bluebird

Mountain Bluebird

Details available on the Audubon web site:
Information on the participating in the Climate Watch Program.

The Climate Change Report with Audubon’s findings, their implications, and how to interpret the data is available in both a quick overview video and detailed information.

Audubon’s climate change news and programs.

Warmer weather brings noticeable changes in the Great Backyard Bird Count

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