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Spring Storm Strands Migrating Birds

Klara Matusevich

The spring bird migration is underway and this week’s heavy snowfall may have left many species searching for shelter and food.

Barb Gorges is the president of the Cheyenne High Plains Audubon Society.  She says as long as the cold weather doesn’t last too long, the birds should be able to hunker down.

“A lot of the birds will just sit tight and I know in our backyard, our bushes were loaded with snow and I think they just kind of buried themselves back in there under the bushes,” Gorges says.

The cold weather can actually be a good opportunity for bird watching, she says, if people put feeders out. She recommends a kind of food called suet for insect eaters. They're often the most impacted by spring snow.

"Warblers are mostly insect eaters," Gorges says. "And they usually don’t get up here until we have a good hatch of insects.  And we’ve had some, we’ve had some warm weather.  So those are the birds that really suffer.  And with a storm like that, not all the birds make it.”

She says as the snow melts, shore birds will also be affected since they’ll find their usual shores submerged under high water and be forced to fly on.

Melodie Edwards is the host and producer of WPM's award-winning podcast The Modern West. Her Ghost Town(ing) series looks at rural despair and resilience through the lens of her hometown of Walden, Colorado. She has been a radio reporter at WPM since 2013, covering topics from wildlife to Native American issues to agriculture.

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