Coming back from church Sunday we were braking almost constantly trying to avoid birds, he said. Theyre coming in from where they usually feed in the fields, sometimes in flocks of hundreds. Theyre not used to being around vehicles so a lot are getting killed.
As well as pheasants and meadowlarks, high numbers of red-winged blackbirds, longspurs, robins and horned larks have recently been seen dead on Kansas roads.
But as bleak as conditions have been in some areas, biologists say they could have been worse.
Pitman was thankful temperatures havent been brutally cold, which requires wildlife to need more food to survive.
A thick layer of ice, such as from freezing rain or prolonged cold after significant melting, can make scratching out food nearly impossible.
In the past, such icing or rapidly building snow drifts also have entombed roosting ground birds and lead to widespread die-offs.
Though hardly balmy, the long-term forecast seems to have enough sunshine, above-freezing temperatures and wind to help expose some feeding areas and cover within a few days.
For the wildlife that survives the deep snows, the sooner they can get to food and shelter the better, so they can rebuild their bodies.
Pitman and Penner said birds still weak at the start of spring nestings usually produce fewer eggs and young. Klataske is concerned about species soon migrating northward.
It takes a lot of energy to get hundreds, if not thousands of miles, he said. They cant just jump on a plane or train.
But in the long run, the snows in which many birds perished, could be a God-send for their species because of the moisture.
Before the storms, Penner said reproduction for many species of ground-nesting birds looked bleak this spring because of a near complete absence of residual cover. Hopefully this moisture will soak in, and well get some good rain and some green grass growing this spring, he said.
Pitman agreed, saying many species of wildlife need good conditions for reproduction this year.
The long-term benefits probably far outweigh the current impact with mortalities, he said. We have to have some moisture and early growth if we want to turn (low populations) around.
Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/2013/02/27/4091374/drought-starved-habitat-snow-hit.html#storylink=cpy