US wildfires cause mass bird die off

After an abnormally large number of migratory birds turned up dead in people’s backyards in Colorado and other parts of western and central U.S. states.

Around the same period as the birds’ deaths, more than 3 million hectares (7.8 million acres) of land burned, which resulted in habitat loss and the emission of toxic compounds that threaten the health of both avian species and humans. In addition, snowstorms struck parts of the Northwest in early September while these birds were in the midst of their annual migration. Some areas experienced temperature drops of as much as 40°C (72°F) in just a few hours.

Researchers found that the wildfires and also the toxic air were the two factors that influenced the birds’ mortality. There was a strong correlation between the observations of dead birds and wildfires and the toxic gases they produced, but there was not enough information to conclude that the avian mortality was connected to the early winter storms.

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