Climate change threatens beloved birds [Letter]

September 24, 2014

Baltimore is happily celebrating our Birds, who last week clinched their first American League division title in 17 years. The O's certainly earned cheers for the joy they've brought us all season.

But other kinds of birds are in trouble. A report earlier this month indicated that almost half of North America's bird species risk extinction before the end of this century. Meanwhile, a National Audubon study of over 500 species found that most face major habitat loss as climate disturbances shrink and shift the places where they can live.

Baltimore's feathered Orioles will try to adapt by summering further north (O's in Alaska?). But forest destruction in the tropics will further limit their survival chances each winter. Other local species confront even harsher fates. Bald eagles may lose three-quarters of their current summer range, and common loons are expected to disappear from the lower 48 states.

So yes, let's celebrate our victorious Orioles. What a team! But let's also work together to make sure there will always be orange and black feathers — and scarlet, white and cerulean too — to brighten our Baltimore springs.

Julie Dunlap, Columbia

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