Cold weather leaving bird population in crisis

Weather

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Robins are typically a sign of spring in West Michigan. But his year, the unreasonably cold weather is putting them and other birds in a crisis.

The frigid temperatures are freezing the birds’ food sources and causing a shortage.

“When they are at risk like this, I know I’m making a difference and that makes me feel good,” said Judy Bergman who owns Backyard Birding and has a Masters in Natural Science from Michigan State University.

She said the birds coming from Central America are expecting to find insects and fruit, but are starving because they’re unable to find any because much of the ground is iced over.

Bergman says birds have about 72 hours to find food when they arrive before they die. The shortage is causing robins to travel dangerously close to traffic while looking for food.

Cold temperatures up north are adding to the problem, as birds who typically travel north are hanging around and forcing more birds to compete for less food.

“In Grand Rapids, I’m encouraged because the snow is leaving and I hope we’ve seen the last and they are going to recover,” Bergman said.

For those interested in helping with the birds’ crisis, they can do things like clearing a patch of grass to thaw and putting out a container of warm water for them to drink.

“Go buy some strawberries, chop them up, get some blueberries, some raisins chop them up,” said Bergman.

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