Connecticut Audbon Society

 

10 Ways to Help Birds: Number 2 — Reverse the climate crisis

Rising sea levels could affect shorebirds such as these Red Knots.

We’ve made a list of 10 things you can do to help birds, and we’re counting them down one day at a time until Earth Day, April 22.

April 21, 2021 — The biggest threat to birds is climate change. Birds are already starting to feel the heat right here in Connecticut.

It’s a global problem with local and regional implications, and with local and regional opportunities for meaningful action. The most effective action is collective but that doesn’t mean we should ignore individual action.

Three quarters of all emissions from Connecticut are from cars, trucks and other forms of transportation, and from buildings, including houses. Drive less and drive slower. Turn the thermostat down in winter and up in summer.

New England is a leader on climate change nationally. The state of Connecticut plays a key role in New England, and Connecticut Audubon plays a crucial role in Connecticut. Connecticut Audubon sets the highest standards for conservation.

We address climate change issues by:

  • working on conservation projects that help protect birds and other wildlife and their habitats from the effects of climate change;
  • presenting education programs that emphasize climate change as the key conservation issue facing the state;
  • advocating with grassroots support for laws, policies, and programs that combat climate change and help wildlife and habitats adapt to its effects.

To cope with the stress of climate change, Chestnut-sided Warblers need more of their preferred shrub habitat. Photo by Gilles Carter.

Please join our Climate Change Advocacy Network. We will ask you to contact your elected representatives. We’ll provide you with simple ways to do so, and to make your individual voice part of a larger, effective whole.

Connecticut Audubon’s 20 sanctuaries encompass 3,300 acres, a number that represents a 35% increase in recent years.

Land preservation is a climate change issue because protecting forests and grasslands locks up carbon in plants and trees to keep it out of the atmosphere. Larger blocks of conserved land also help habitats and wildlife to withstand the effects of climate change.

Connecticut Audubon’s bird conservation work includes protecting beach habitat with the Audubon Alliance for Coastal Waterbirds.

Its 100 volunteers and staff are on the state’s beaches from April through August protecting and keeping track of Piping Plovers, American Oystercatchers, and Least Terns. As sea levels rise, the Alliance’s work will become even more important.

The fastest declining birds in New England include those that nest in shrub habitat.

As Prairie Warbler, Blue-winged Warbler, Chestnut-sided Warbler, Brown Thrasher, Eastern Towhee, and others struggle to adapt to a warmer climate, prime nesting areas will be essential to help them survive.

Connecticut Audubon is managing over 200 acres of shrub habitat in Pomfret, Hampton, Westport, Fairfield, Sherman, and Goshen.

Education/Science in Nature

Climate change science has beenpart of Connecticut Audubon’s Science in Nature outdoor education program almost from its start in 2012.

More than 70,000 students have been through the program. Virtually all of them have been introduced to the subject with instruction appropriate to their grade levels.

Senator Richard Blumenthal listens as Connecticut Audubon Society Executive Director Patrick Comins expresses support for Blumenthal’s Plum Island preservation legislation. Photo by Alisha Milardo/Connecticut Audubon

Advocacy
Connecticut Audubon’s members form a large, committed, knowledgeable, and active group of grassroots advocates.

The organization’s annual Connecticut State of the Birds report has delved into climate change and its effects on the state’s birds. The 2019 report looked at the future of Long Island Sound as climate change worsens.

In recent years Connecticut Audubon and its members have supported:

  • the state’s efforts to procure up to 2000 megawatts of electricity from wind farms to be built south of Block Island and Nantucket. Connecticut Audubon also worked with a coalition on best practices to protect birds and other wildlife during construction and operation.
  • a new state law that authorizes municipal climate change and coastal resiliency reserve funds.
  • funding for the state Community Investment Act, to buy and preserve open space.
  • permanent funding of the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund, which provides land acquisition money to states.
  • authorization of the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act, which would provide about $12.6 million a year to Connecticut to be used for projects such as protecting coastal habitats that are under increasing threats from sea level rise and severe coastal storms.

Connecticut Audubon also supported and submitted comments on Governor Lamont’s Executive Order on Climate Change.

Climate change is an over-arching issue, with direct impacts on conservation. There’s a role for everyone, at the individual level, the state level, the regional level, and the national level. Please join our Climate Change Advocacy Network.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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