The elusive Baird's sparrow has a small range, very specific moisture requirements, and an intolerance to fluctuating temperatures. Unfortunately for the bird, climate change will mess with all three. Although its range loss here appears dramatic, that's likely because the species will be moving north into Canada, beyond the geographic scope of this study.
While a shifting climate brings bad news for the grasshopper sparrow, land-use changes will offset much of its range loss. These birds actually stand to benefit from people swapping forests for farmland. The sparrow makes itself at home in pretty much any open grassland, which is exactly what new croplands and hay fields in the eastern U.S. provide.
The hooded warbler won't see much net difference in its range due to climate change--it will gain as much as it loses. The primary driver here is forest loss caused by urbanization and agriculture, such as tree farms in the Southeast. Since these pine fields are clear cut every 20 years, the ecosystems don't function like the mature forests the warblers require.
The gray vireo, for one, will celebrate a hotter, drier future. In the high plains and desert mountains of the American Southwest, this small songbird makes itself at home among all types of shrubs and scrub brush, where it hunts bugs and builds nests. As arid conditions spread farther out, the vireo's preferred vegetation will also proliferate.
A Birder’s Guide To The Future [Infographic]
Land use and climate change are turning some birds into winners, and others into losers