December 16, 2011
Thousands Of Birds Crash Land In Utah Town
Thousands of migrating Eared Grebes mistook the Utah town of Cedar City for a lake on Monday night during a snow storm, killing hundreds of the birds.
The flock thought the town was a lake, and swooped in for a crash landing in streets and parking lots assuming they would land safely in the water. Officials believe the birds did not compensate for landing on hard pavement.
Residents said birds were falling out of the sky on Monday, crashing into lawns all over town.
“They get down through the clouds and see a lawn that is covered with snow or a parking lot that is covered with snow with lights on it thinking it's a lake and try to land on it,” DWR spokesman Lynn Chamberlain told ABC.
Authorities said that over 4,000 birds were scattered across a local Utah Wal-Mart parking lot on Monday. At least 1,500 Eared Grebes were found dead after the event.
Utah Department of Wildlife Resources officials and volunteers were able to rescue about 3,000 of the flock.
Eared Grebes are a duck-like aquatic bird that migrate to southwestern United States and Mexico. They breed in shallow wetlands in western North America, mostly on Mono Lake and the Great Salt Lake in fall.
At the Great Salt Lake, the bird doubles its weight in preparation for what is suppose to be a nonstop flight to its migration destination.
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