Climate, especially in California, has the potential to impact the migratory patterns and lives of birds, according to experts.
"Not only does our study look at which birds will be most at risk given a changed climate, it also evaluates how climate change, piled on top of all the existing threats such as development and invasive species, will affect birds. This gives a more comprehensive picture, and provides the information necessary to help allocate scarce dollars for conservation," said PRBO Ecologist Tom Gardali, the study’s lead author, in a statement.
The study, which was published in the online journal PLoS ONE March 2, aims to serve as a guide for conservation efforts in California.
"Our unique approach is one that other scientists and resource managers can duplicate to help them conserve wildlife in the face of climate change," Gardali said.
The study added stressors, such as habitat loss and degradation, with how vulnerable California’s bird species are to projected climate change impacts, according to the state department. From there, a list of at-risk species was created.
The list identified nearly 130 species of birds as vulnerable to predicted effects of climate change and that 21 of the state’s 29 threatened and endangered bird species—so 72 percent—will be further impacted by climate change, which increases their risk of extinction, according to the state department (see accompanying list under photo.)
The study found that species at sea or near-shore waters and nest on islands or rocky shores are highly vulnerable. These species include the Cassin’s auklet, , black oystercatcher and white and brown pelicans.
"By using this information to prioritize and implement conservation actions now, managers can help to reduce negative impacts of climate change," said state Department of Fish and Game Chief Deputy Director Kevin Hunting in a statement.