A large rookery near Rockport, Texas, is experiencing higher than typical mortality this breeding season. According to KRISTV.com, more than two dozen dead egrets were reported earlier this month, and while one or two dead birds is normal, the extent of the deaths has warranted an investigation. At the moment, no evidence has arisen to indicate any maliciousness; instead, it is believed the birds may be dying of heat or malnutrition brought on by lower food supplies during drought conditions.
Birds have many ways to keep cool during hot summer days, but severe droughts and other natural disasters can have a high toll. Nesting colonies, in particular, are at greater risk because of the need for greater resources to nourish a large number of hatchlings in the same area.
Have you noticed greater bird mortality during this record-breaking heat wave? Share your thoughts in the comments!
Photo © David Slater