Disher: “We used to get large flocks of bobolinks coming through every year…”

That’s birder and nature photographer David Disher. Over the past decade, he’s observed the decrease or disappearance of many bird species, like the bobolink, from his home in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

And the evening grosbeaks that once emptied winter bird feeders across town…

Disher: “They used to be down here in groups of a hundred. Climate change is forcing them to move north more into the boreal forest so they have much farther to come south and at the same time their numbers are decreasing.”

Disher is seeing what researchers have documented: Many bird species are shifting toward the poles or higher altitudes to compensate for warming temperatures. Not all, however, are able to adapt. Some also face shrinking habitat — and for birds that require specific conditions, it can leave no place to go.

Recently, the National Audubon Society issued a report warning that climate change could put nearly half of North American bird species at severe risk by 2080.

Disher: “They show some pretty dire numbers of birds leaving or disappearing in that time frame.”

Reporting credit: ChavoBart Digital Media.
Photo: Male evening grosbeak. (Source: Wikipedia).

More Resources
Birder Sees Climate Change in His Winston-Salem Back Yard
Audubon’s Birds and Climate Change Report

Sara Peach

Sara Peach is the Senior Editor of Yale Climate Connections. She is an environmental journalist whose work has appeared in National Geographic, Scientific American, Environmental Health News, Grist, and...