DNR Concerned About Stranded Waterfowl

This winter, the Department of Natural Resources asks those living along the Great Lakes, especially Lake Michigan, to keep an eye out for confused, stranded waterfowl in local towns and neighborhoods.

The exceptionally cold winter weather of the past few weeks has caused the bays and waters of the Great Lakes to freeze much further into the center than in recent years. Rather than move far into the deep waters of the lakes, some waterfowl are moving from the larger, freezing waters of the Great Lakes and are looking for open water bodies inland. In foggy, snowy, and low-visibility conditions, these birds are mistaking icy roadways and driveways for inland water bodies and becoming stranded on land.

Birds including a few species of ducks have feet that are placed far back on their bodies to allow them to dive for their preferred prey – fish. Because of this foot placement, these birds are not able to take off from dry land. These stranded birds can starve if they’re not found and returned to the water fairly quickly.

If you find a bird that appears to be stranded, you’re encouraged to contact a local wildlife rehabilitator to help get the bird to water. If you encounter dead bird, the DNR says you should contact their local Field Office or Operations Service Center.

For a list of Operations Service Centers, click here.

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About Eric Wotila

Eric Wotila has been working in television in northern Michigan since 2002, working at numerous local stations over the years. Since 2011, he's worked as an anchor, photojournalist and reporter at MI News 26.
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