Biologists at the University of New Mexico are trying to figure out why hundreds of thousands of migratory birds have been found dead across the state.
It all began on August 20 with the discovery of large numbers of dead birds at the US Army missile range and White Sands National Monument, says Martha Desmond, professor of conservation ecology at the State University. What was initially thought to be an isolated incident turned out to be a much bigger problem when hundreds of more dead birds were found in regions across the state, including Doña Ana County, Hemes Pueblo, Roswell and Socorro.
“It’s just awful. We are talking about hundreds of thousands of birds. This is a major event, a truly massive death,” says the professor.
Dead migratory birds, which include species such as songbirds, bluebirds, sparrows, blackbirds, western forest piu, and flycatchers, are also found in Colorado, Texas, and Mexico. Wildfires in California and other western states are one of the factors that, according to biologists, could affect the death of birds. They may have forced the birds to migrate early – before they were ready.