Winter and Bird Survival

hunter94

Active member
from what i can tell by the DOT cams, it looks like a heavy snow cover and cold temps in SD.
how are the birds handling this prolonged stretch of snow cover?
 

reddog

Active member
I just left my cabin at Chamberlain. Most snow in ten or more years. With that said. The flock on our road is still healthy.
 

Dakotazeb

Active member
When you have this much snow, and prolonged extreme cold, the mortality rate is usually pretty high.
 

benelli-banger

Active member
Mpls Star tribune Outdoors section today had article about pheasants in SW Mn and that they are holding up well...Marshall, Worthington, Lac Qu Parle (spelling!)...I think those areas have had more snow and just as much cold as many parts of SD...the birds had easy picking into January, which isn't always the case when bad winters hurt the wildlife...doesn't mean it won't get worse, just isn't that dire at this point...I talk to a few farmers weekly, and one today told me about all the birds he sees anytime he is near cattails...go figure....
 

sdviking

Member
It rained for a couple hours around 5 AM this morning, and now it's snowing. Temps hanging right around 32. Hope the birds have a good place to stay dry. The next 10 days will be a roller coaster of weather events in NE South Dakota. SDViking
 

BigRand

Member
Drove from SF to Watertown then Hwy 20 to 281 up to Aberdeen Thursday and back the same way Friday. Saw quite a few birds, and deer, out looking for food. Only bad thing is that was probably all of the birds. Not many places to hide or hunker down left when the weather hits. My guess is it's having a very negative effect of the wildlife. Not to mention the amount of flooding that will be following all of this.
 

Dakotazeb

Active member
After this current storm I can't imagine that a lot of birds will survive. Yesterday eastern SD had an inch to an inch and a half of rain, then turned to freezing rain and more snow. Freezing rain today and more snow with winds 35-40 and gusts to 60. Not going to settle down until tomorrow. Lots of flooding going on. It's been a very cool winter in Arizona, but I'm so glad I wasn't back in SD this winter.
 

sdviking

Member
After this current storm I can't imagine that a lot of birds will survive. Yesterday eastern SD had an inch to an inch and a half of rain, then turned to freezing rain and more snow. Freezing rain today and more snow with winds 35-40 and gusts to 60. Not going to settle down until tomorrow. Lots of flooding going on. It's been a very cool winter in Arizona, but I'm so glad I wasn't back in SD this winter.[/QUO

I agree, I saw a few birds that had moved back to my place as the weather got nicer then 2 inches of rain, followed by five inches of snow and the super high winds. I doubt many birds made it through the past two days. Horrible weather conditions for any wildlife. I have about 300 yards of ditch to dig out with a scoop shovel in order to get the water to move to the township road and then into CRP. Water is just sitting on top of the snow and not moving which is bad due to my house not being far from where the water has to flow by. Thank the Lord temps are suppose to be close to 30 until Tuesday then it starts to melt fast. SDviking
 

PheasantSlough

New member
Winter Survival

from what i can tell by the DOT cams, it looks like a heavy snow cover and cold temps in SD.
how are the birds handling this prolonged stretch of snow cover?
I live near Aberdeen, but its similar statewide in pheasant range. After the blizzard of 3/14, its total devastation of pheasant populations. Nearly all cover blown in with hard packed snow from 60mph winds, everything ice covered, no exposed fields to feed in. Worst winter since 1997. It will take years for pheasants to recover from this.
 

haymaker

Active member
I live near Aberdeen, but its similar statewide in pheasant range. After the blizzard of 3/14, its total devastation of pheasant populations. Nearly all cover blown in with hard packed snow from 60mph winds, everything ice covered, no exposed fields to feed in. Worst winter since 1997. It will take years for pheasants to recover from this.
I live west of Aberdeen 35 miles, no ice but a tough go. I will wait and see, they are smart and resourceful birds. There are trees and silage piles, the ones around here have been feeding with my cows. It is not good but there are survivors.
 

870-Lefty

Member
Anyone know how bad the weather has been West river, around Timberlake and Firesteel, Dewy county? How about East river, Redfield, Spink county?
 
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haymaker

Active member
It was not good anywhere. Aberdeen east and south had rain first and snow later. Heavy flooding further south. West river would have been all snow. Sioux falls and south all rain. It was a big system that affected from Nebraska to North Dakota.
 

benelli-banger

Active member
I have reached out to several farmers/ranchers/hunters that I know in SE SD that would have been mainly rained on during the storm of 3/14-3/15...I don't get the feeling that they are too worried about a large-scale die off. In fact, I don't get the sense that they are concerned at all...maybe something is being lost in translation, but that is the sense I get. These are folks that I know very, very well, and who themselves care about the birds. Certainly there was some mortality, but if we have an OK nesting season, it could be OK this fall...all these people have been telling me for the past month that they have been seeing more birds this winter than they have seen in a long time, including last fall...out scratching in the bean fields, mainly. Some are putting out some corn. Anyway, that is the little bit I know at this point. I do know that January wasn't too terrible, but the past 6 weeks or so have been tough, but the birds had a decent layer of fat on them from a pretty easy fall. We'll see...fingers crossed.
 

Dakotazeb

Active member
Your people in the SE part of the state probably escaped the worst of this winter but I know the Watertown and Aberdeen areas have been hit hard. A friend in Watertown said all the rain last week took the snow depth down but there is still a lot of snow. Two feet on the level and with that rain it has turned into concrete. No way any birds that have survived to his point can dig down to any food source. I know from my daughter it's not good in the Redfield are either. Guess the road survey in August will tell us a lot but my guess is that many areas are going to see significant reductions in numbers.
 

benelli-banger

Active member
Your people in the SE part of the state probably escaped the worst of this winter but I know the Watertown and Aberdeen areas have been hit hard. A friend in Watertown said all the rain last week took the snow depth down but there is still a lot of snow. Two feet on the level and with that rain it has turned into concrete. No way any birds that have survived to his point can dig down to any food source. I know from my daughter it's not good in the Redfield are either. Guess the road survey in August will tell us a lot but my guess is that many areas are going to see significant reductions in numbers.
Unfortunately, I believe what you are saying....
 
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