People in Maryland love their Baltimore orioles — so much so that their Major League Baseball team bears the name of the migrating bird. Yet, by 2080, there may not be any orioles left in Maryland. They migrate each year and, according to a new report, could soon be forced to nest well north of the Mid-Atlantic state.
And the oriole is not alone. A seven-year study published Tuesday by the National Audubon Society warns that the migratory routes and habitats of more than half of the birds in North America are now or soon will be threatened by climate change.
The report looked at more than 40 years of climate data and records from bird censuses conducted by the Audubon and the U.S. Geological Survey. Researchers compared changes in bird migration patterns to changes in climate to predict the fate of 588 bird species now found in the U.S. and Canada.
They found that the bald eagle, for example, could see its current range decrease by nearly 75 percent in the next 65 years. The common loon, an iconic bird in Minnesota and Maine, may no longer be able to breed in the lower 48 states as soon as 2080, according to the report.
David Yarnold is president and CEO of the National Audubon Society. He spoke with Morning Edition’s David Greene about exactly what the study predicts, and why the future is so uncertain for many American birds.