Climate Change

Climate change is an existential threat to birds and people, and addressing this threat requires sustained, targeted action. Audubon is uniquely suited to help drive that action with our hemispheric network of staff and volunteers from all walks of life and of all political persuasions.

Western Meadowlark Photo: Evan Barrientos/Audubon Rockies

For decades, climate change has been one of our greatest conservation challenges and has become one of the leading threats to birds and other wildlife across the nation. Many of these species are currently threatened by other factors, such as habitat loss, while others are species we previously considered secure but could face significant shifts in their ranges as a result of climate change.

Now, more than ever, we have a responsibility to be the voice of the birds and aggressively combat this urgent threat head on by protecting the places that birds need to thrive and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Renewable Energy and Birds

Thanks to major advances in technology, renewable energy has become increasingly more affordable and obtainable for both businesses and individual homes. That’s good news for people and birds, since adopting renewable energy is critical to reducing pollution, lowering global temperatures, and preserving the places that birds need to survive.

That’s why Audubon strongly supports renewable energy – including solar, wind, and geothermal power – that is properly sited in ways that avoid, minimize, and mitigate negative impacts on birds and other wildlife. We also advocate that Congress and wildlife agencies should ensure strong enforcement of laws that protect birds and wildlife, like the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.


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Solar Energy

The future looks bright for solar power. More than 1 million homes across the United States now run-on energy generated by rooftop solar panels, and a new system is installed every four minutes. Solar panels are cheaper than they’ve ever been; installation costs have dropped by 70 percent in the last decade. And because solar is growing in popularity and declining in cost, more companies offer services that make rooftop installation easy. 

That’s great news for all of us—and for birds, too. Climate change is the number one threat to U.S. birds, according to Audubon scientists, and to combat that threat, we need to end our reliance on fossil fuels that produce carbon pollution. With solar power more accessible than ever, many people can now do their part to transition to cleaner sources of energy at home, and save money on electricity bills in the long run. 

Audubon supports solar power development in the following ways: 

  • Audubon collaborates with the PV Solar Industry in the Avian Solar Work Group to facilitate research on birds’ interactions with PV solar panels, and what might be done to avoid harm. 
  • We forcefully advocate for the enforcement of existing federal laws like the Migratory Bird Treaty Act that avoids, minimizes and mitigates any adverse effects on birds and their habitat. 

Wind Energy

Wind power is one of the most economically competitive forms of renewable energy, essential for energy independence. However, direct collisions with turbines and other structures are a danger to birds. Wind power facilities can also degrade or destroy habitat, cause disturbance and displacement, and disrupt important ecological relationships. Placing wind projects in the path of migratory routes makes this problem worse, especially for larger turbine blades that may reach up into the average flight zone of birds that migrate at night. While direct collisions with turbines do kill birds, the evidence shows that the number of fatalities is far less than other dangers and is not a driver of overall population decline. If developed and managed properly, the Great Plains can become a major producer of sustainable wind energy with minimal risk to wildlife. 

Audubon uses our unique grassroots network and cutting-edge mapping technology to visualize potential impacts and advocate for beneficial siting of wind power. 

Audubon has helped develop guidelines for the wind industry to help minimize harm to birds and other wildlife and participates in the American Wind and Wildlife Institute

Vulnerable Birds

How you can help, right now