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Weird Wednesday, December 14th 2011 at 5:41 pm

Thousands of Birds Die Flying Head-First Into Walmart Parking Lot, Mistaking It for Water

Today in unfortunate bird news, thousands of migrating grebes crashed into a Walmart parking lot — as well as other similar constructions throughout Utah — because they confused it with a body of water. Wildlife officials said the duck-like probably mistook the parking lot for a safe resting spot, like a body of water, considering grebes are aquatic. Wildlife program manager for the southern region of the Utah Department of Wildlife Resource’s Teresa Griffin said the birds are “just everywhere,” and that people are even coming into the department’s office, dropping them off.

Griffin said the way the storm clouds over the city interacted with the city lights made the parking lot look like a flat body of water, so instead of landing to rest, the birds slammed into the pavement. What I don’t quite understand is, if they were landing to rest, why were they flying hard enough to slam into anything, even water?

Though many birds were killed in the downing, officials started to find many survivors, and have collected a total of 2,000 as of last night, which were subsequently released into unfrozen bodies of water. Griffin cites the community of volunteers for helping out with the collection of survivors: ”The volunteer effort in the community has been amazing,” she said. “People have been wonderful.”

Nice to hear that Utahns (yep, that’s what they’re apparently called) are taking time out of their lives to collect injured birds, but it’s a little disconcerting to learn that all it takes for thousands of birds to crash land into something is some clouds and city lights. Luckily, no one was reported injured in the downing.

(The Spectrum via The Daily What)

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