Wildlife officials said more birds than usual are becoming stranded. As lakes and streams ice over, the birds are mistaking roads and driveways for open water.
Michigan Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Technician Katie Keen said if the birds land on dry land, they can’t take off again.“They’re not terrestrial, they’re not land-birds, they’re water-birds, so where they’re legs are located on their bodies, they’re not meant to stand like a mallard would. You know you can see a mallard standing on a dock or on a shoreline. These ducks, they’re legs are farther back so they even stand awkward. They might appear to be so awkward that someone thinks they’re injured, but they’re just not meant for land.”
Keen said the birds most likely to have trouble are two species of duck; grebes and mergansers.
She said anyone who sees a stranded bird should call a local wildlife rehabilitator. They can relocate the bird to open water.
ON THE WEB:
Michigan Licensed Wildlife Rehabilitation Centers www.michigandnr.com/dlr