Climate change could bring extinction to more than half of Michigan's birds | Michigan Radio
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Climate change could bring extinction to more than half of Michigan's birds

Oct 18, 2019

Credit User: jackanapes / Flickr

More than 50 percent of Michigan’s birds could go extinct if nothing is done to combat climate change.

That's according to a report from the Audubon Society.

The report found that 65% of bird species in North America are at risk of extinction if nothing is done to curb greenhouse gas emissions.

Nat Miller is with Audubon Great Lakes. He says one of the birds at risk of losing the majority of its habitat in the state is the common loon.

“People being born right now, when they are in their 20 and 30s if they aren’t able to experience the call of the loon in summer in Michigan that’s a significant loss for our society,” he said.

Miller says the goal is to keep global warming to within 1.5 degrees of current average temperatures.

"But if we get to three degrees celcius or beyond it’s unlikely the common Loon will find suitable habitat in the state of Michigan to breed," he said.

Miller says taking action to reduce emissions could improve the chances of survival for 76 percent of those threatened species.

"Birds have often been called the canary in the coal mine because of what they tell us about the environment, and now what they tell us about climate change," he said. "But I also like to think of them as ambassadors that can bring people together across the political spectrum to do something about climate change."

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