Nearly 20 percent of S.C. bird species are vulnerable to climate change

Audubon Society says there's still hope to save many species

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The red-headed woodpecker is among 15 S.C. bird species the the Audubon Society found to be highly vulnerable due to climate change - GARY ROBINETTE/COURTESY AUDUBON SOCIETY
  • Gary Robinette/Courtesy Audubon Society
  • The red-headed woodpecker is among 15 S.C. bird species the the Audubon Society found to be highly vulnerable due to climate change
On Oct. 10, the National Audubon Society released a report that found almost two-thirds of bird species face extinction unless action is quickly taken against climate change. In South Carolina, nearly 20 percent of state birds are vulnerable to climate change, along with about a quarter of summer-nesting birds in the state.

While the study’s findings are stark, the Audubon Society says that there are actions that can mitigate the worst effects of climate change. Specifically, people are encouraged to reduce the energy use in their home, ask elected officials to expand clean energy development, and advocate for natural solutions, like increased wetlands.

The Audubon Society lists 15 birds that spend time in S.C. as "high vulnerability species," with 49 others facing low and moderate vulnerability. A full picture of how climate change will affect birds from all 50 states can be accessed at audubon.org.



The Lowcountry is no stranger to some of these solutions, as the recently finished Dutch Dialogues also called for a refocus on natural infrastructure to cure flooding problems around Charleston.
As global temperatures increase, landscapes are affected, forcing many species of bird to search for a suitable habitat. Up to three dozen species of bird could face habitat loss due to rising sea levels.

Several Obama-era climate change policies have been gutted by the Trump administration, most famously the Paris Climate Agreement in 2017. In response to the U.S. withdrawal, which saw nations agreeing to keep global temperature rise below two degrees celsius by the year 2100, Mayor John Tecklenburg declared that the city would preserve the agreement's efforts.
To conduct the study, the National Audubon Society dug into climate-related problems, including sea level rise, urbanization, drought, and heavy rain, and their impacts on 604 North American bird species.

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