Meager Food Available
9:47 am
Mon March 3, 2014

Birds Face Shrinking Winter Food Supply

Deer aren’t the only wildlife having a hard time finding food this winter.  

Robins returning in time for spring may be unprepared for wintry conditions.
Robins returning in time for spring may be unprepared for wintry conditions.
Credit Marc Evans

Wildlife rehabilitator Marge Gibson of the Raptor Education Group says she’s worried about many of the region’s birds.  She says the rehab center near Antigo is seeing birds like red-tailed hawks, chickadees and even robins.    

“What is unusual is the way that they’re coming in.  People are finding them really not moving very much – they’re kind of in a hypothermic state.  Their breathing is slowed, their heartrate is slowed, and they go into almost a torpor state.” 

Gibson says the center is seeing fewer injuries from cars or predators, but more cases of starvation. 

And she says she worries that most of the suffering birds won’t ever be noticed.

“Many are dying in the woods, and people never find them.  We live in a relatively remote area here in northern Wisconsin, and we aren’t active in the woods as we are during the spring and summer.”

Gibson says it’s helps to be aware of birds that seem extremely lethargic.  She also notes feeding birds is helpful, though she warns white bread or crackers lack sufficient nutrients.