A major hailstorm wiped out thousands of birds over the weekend, so Utah Division of Wildlife Resources officials went out to assess casualties, Monday. Experts say the lucky birds were able to take cover under bridges along the Antelope Island Causeway, but unfortunately 9,000 of them simply did not have time to get there.
“They’re very small, very delicate,” explained John Neill, Avian Biologist for the DWR. Neill says that is why flock after flock of Red-necked Phalaropes dropped from the sky during the storm, Friday. He says the migratory birds were likely heading to Northern Canada or Alaska for breeding season.
“Great Salt Lake’s a very important fuel stopover for them… it’s just a coincidence that the birds were here and the storm came at the same time,” Neill said. Neill says the birds were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time, and it made for a sad outcome that no one could have prevented.