Officials: Population of Utah birds to decline as climate change takes over, how to help

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(ABC4)

UTAH (ABC4) – Officials say Utah birds are at risk as climate change claws through the planet.

According to the Bridgerland Audubon Society (BAS), a chapter of the National Audubon Society, Utah birds may no longer have a place to thrive in the Beehive State, if citizens don’t act now.

“Of the 588 North American bird species included in a 7-year Audubon study, more than half are likely to be seriously impacted by climate change,” shares BAS on April 26. “Sophisticated models indicate that 314 species will lose more than 50 percent of their current climatic range by 2080. 142 of which are found in Utah.”

Officials say that these statistics also include our state bird the California gull.

According to the society, Utah is a known region to welcome many species of birds, as it provides them with a safe habitat with an abundance of food, but if climate change continues to take over, that may no longer be the case.

“The planet’s rapidly changing climate has resulted in a much higher frequency of severe weather events in the form of floods, droughts, and fires,” adds BAS.

“Southwestern Utah has seen several epic floods in recent years resulting in extensive loss of property and life while other parts of our state have suffered from drought.”

The Bridgerland Audubon Society shares that “climate models indicate there will be a 10-15% increase in precipitation levels with different projections between Southern and Northern Utah, but rising temperatures mean this will occur more frequently as rain—leading to less snow accumulation and earlier snowmelt.”

Understanding this impact is essential for pushing Utah in the right direction, as snowpack is instrumental in holding water and preventing loss through runoff.

Officials emphasized that with less snow and quicker melts, the state is prone to more droughts and shortages.

According to the society, Utah’s average temperature has increased twice as fast as the national average, and each impact results in negative consequences for the birds that call Utah home.

Impacts include:

  • Reduced snowpack
  • Early spring runoff resulting in loss of late season water availability
  • Change in timing of insect and plant reproductive cycles
  • Changing plant communities and plant range

However, not all is lost and there is a way to possibly change that. Here are tips and advice on what Utahns can immediately start doing to protect the future of these beloved winged creatures, according to the Bridgerland Audubon Society.

Preventive actions to make a difference

Climate actions to make a difference

Top five easiest things to do to conserve energy

  1. Change the filter in your furnace: Keep heating and cooling systems running efficiently.
  2. Eat local and organic, plant a garden. Food production [and delivery] produces 40% of all greenhouse gases.
  3. Change to LED light bulbs: They use far less energy than incandescent bulbs.
  4. Combine trips: Plan your errands to reduce transportation time.
  5. Lower the temperature on your water heater: You’ll still have hot water, but it means the heater uses less energy when you are not using hot water.
  6. Check your tire pressure regularly: Poorly inflated tires waste gas and cause more pollution.

Five decisions that will make the biggest difference

  1. Buy a fuel-efficient car: Include the fuel economy rating as part of the decision-making process.
  2. Invest in green power: Go solar with and get credits for your house or your organization, while learning about your impact.
  3. Install a programmable thermostat and weather-proof your home: It takes about 10 minutes to install and allows you to save lots of energy costs when you are not home.
  4. Buy less stuff: Everything we buy creates waste and uses energy both in the manufacturing process and after we use it.
  5. Advocate for clean energy and the protection of wildlife from global warming.

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