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Vermont's State Bird May be Packing its Bags

Sep 22, 2014 01:10 PM EDT
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The hermit thrush, the state bird of Vermont, may actually be bidding farewell to its host state if climate change projections continue to worsen. That's according to an Audubon report that details how hundreds of bird species are likely to lose their natural habitats or relocate due to warming weather and changing conditions in many parts of the United States.

The report, released by the National Audubon Society, details how 314 North American bird species are in immediate peril, with an additional 274 likely facing serious danger in the coming years.

Nature World News previously reported how this study shows that nearly half of the estimated 650 bird species living in North America are facing shrinking habitats and relocation.

However, some species are in more immediate danger than others. A great number of migratory birds that make use of California's Central Valley, for instance, would simply not able able to make their trip if it wasn't for ongoing efforts by the Nature Conservatory to create temporary "pop up wetlands" to replace nearly 90 percent of "rest stop" habitats that have utterly dried up within the last decade.

Now not just conservationists, but state officials as well, are taking notice of this mounting problem. That's because state birds like the California gull, the Baltimore oriole, and Vermont's hermit thrush are all facing increasing hardship. (Scroll to read on...)

[Credit: Garth McElroy/State Symbols USA]

Vermont in particular is in for a rude awakening when it comes to bird trouble, as nearly half of the state's 200 species made the Audubon list.

Jim Shallow, Audubon Vermont's conservation and policy director, told the Rutland Herald that the threat should be obvious, as the seasonal behavior of the state's birds is changing.

"The changes we are seeing in bird populations are telling us that global warming is underway," he stipulated, adding that "the potential is there for about 50 percent of our birds in Vermont to see big shifts in their ranges."

That mainly means that while the birds might not be facing immediate decline, they will still be moving out of the state and further north to find more suitable habitats. And unfortunately for officials, the state bird is likely to be one of the first to go.

That's because the thrush, with its unique flute-like song, breeds in coniferous or mixed northern woods. With the average temperature and a longer growing season assaulting northern parts of the United States, these types of forests are slowly changing to boast far more paddle-leaved trees, making them unfit for the bird.

According to the Herald, Audubon Vermont is now working with more than 300 landowners to improve coniferous breeding habitat over 280,000 acres of Green Mountain territory. However, whether this will be enough to keep the state's bird in its state remains to be seen.

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