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Spring Wisconsin snow could lead to 'a lot of dead birds'

Posted at 8:00 PM, Apr 16, 2018

There's an unusually high volume of birds in the state right now, and the Department of Natural Resources says spring migration has come to a halt due to the snow.

This stop has forced larger crowds to Wisconsin feeders. The DNR counted nearly 300 at bird feeders near La Crosse. 

Senior ecologist Don Quintenz at Schlitz Audubon Nature Center has seen a higher volume of birds are at the center. If the weather stays like this, he says, birds could be in trouble. 

"A lot of dead birds," says Quintenz, "Freezing temperatures for a couple days straight, that could be very hard on a population."

Amateur Naturalist Judith Huf has studied ornithology for years and says some birds will make sacrifices while others will make due. But she does help them out by keeping her bird feeder full. 

"Some of them will do a little reverse migration...It's a little nicer in Illinois. It's not snowing down there and [the birds] can get food...Robins have been coming to eat bird seed out of the feeder. They don't normally eat bird seed, that's not normal behavior for a robin," said Huf. 

DNR says this weather creates a lose-lose situation for the birds. Since their food is either buried in the snow or frozen solid, especially tree sap or insects, scavenging is difficult.

Additionally, the birds can't go elsewhere to find food because the frigid cold is blocking the warm northbound currents. Setting out raisins, shelled peanuts, and mealworms can go a long way.