Social media was wrong about the hundreds of thousands of dead birds in New Mexico. Don’t blame the California wildfires.
According to UNM Ornithology PhD students Jenna McCullough and Nick Vinciguerra, the historic Arctic front that rode anomalously-far south on the back of a meridional jet stream flow was the primary cause of the deaths.
“The birds that we collected were currently migrating through New Mexico. Migration is a very intensive time for birds. They will fly for hundreds of miles overnight. It depletes their fat stores, so they have little energy when they land at a critical stopover site. On a normal day, they will gorge themselves on food and build up their fat stores to continue. In this case, they stopped in New Mexico, exhausted from migration with little fat, to find very few insects due to cold temperatures that either killed or made insects go dormant. Without fat, they have no protection from the cold and are very susceptible to hypothermia.”
Basically, the birds died of starvation due to the record-cold and snow.
Thanks to Bill Sellers for this link