Hundreds of birds die of starvation after spring snowstorm
May 7, 2013
Local wildlife officials have determined an estimated one to two hundred dead robins and other similar bird species that have been found in the area died of starvation due to the recent snowstorms.
It is unclear whether the birds were resident birds of the area or early migrators that were traveling through the area and were caught in the recent snowstorms.
"It's not uncommon in robin populations to have a wide up and down, it's actually rather typical," said District Wildlife Manager Mike Crosby. "Nature always persists." The robin population should have no problem recovering from the incident, he said.
It is believed the recent snowfall covered the bird's food source and caused the birds to starve.
Robins survive mostly on insects, Crosby said. And due to the snow they were not able to get to the ground to retrieve food to keep up with their energy demands and subsequently starved to death.
Enough birds died to raise concerns about a possible outbreak of a disease, said Michelle Cowardin, a wildlife conservation biologist for Colorado Parks and Wildlife.
"When anything like this happens we want to get them to the lab to see if there is a disease problem," Crosby said. "But this was pretty obvious."
Necropsies completed on six birds revealed the cause of death to be starvation, Crosby said.
Anytime there are severe weather spells in the spring, wildlife populations can be affected. "We will still have plenty of robins," Crosby said.
Wildlife officials remind the public to take precautions when handling a dead bird, such as using disposable gloves to avoid coming in contact with any diseases the bird could have.