DALLAS (NEXSTAR) — Birds, bats and other wildlife appear to have taken a beating during the winter storm and deep freeze in the southern U.S.
Scientists say it might take weeks or months to determine the extent of the harm. But dead robins and other songbirds are being found on yards and sidewalks. And rehabilitation specialists are nursing starving bats found on snow-covered grounds.
Experts say migratory birds in the region don’t fatten up for winter because the South usually has mild weather and plentiful food.
Jane Tillman, a volunteer who works with the Travis County Audubon Society in Texas, told Nexstar’s KXAN that some bird populations may have died during the prolonged, record-breaking cold snap.
“We also have birds that come in for the winter and several of those have died… from lack of food and probably the cold,” Tillman said. “Really, it was just a widespread disaster.”
The Texas Wildlife Department is cataloguing sightings of deaths among birds, bats, fish and other animals after the subfreezing cold gripped the state for days.
Tillman said some of the birds may have succeeded in flying further south, but it’s not clear if they made it to safety since the cold also affected northern Mexico.
Naturalists are also concerned about the habitat for monarch butterflies and other vulnerable species.
Officials say there may be fish kills in some waters.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.