Dead Birds Leave Wildlife Experts Puzzled

"Unprecedented and very large number" of birds have been found dead across southern New Mexico. KOB's Grace Reader reports.

(NBC News) —  A growing number of birds in southern New Mexico that have mysteriously died have wildlife experts scratching their heads.

“It appears to be an unprecedented and a very large number,” says Martha Desmond, a professor at New Mexico State University’s Department of Fish, Wildlife and Conservation Ecology. “It’s very difficult to put a finger on exactly what that number is, but I can say it would easily be in the hundreds of thousands of birds.”

Desmond is working with a group of wildlife experts from the Bureau of Land Management, NMSU and White Sands Missile Range to get to the bottom of why they’ve been seeing a sudden uptick in deaths. They said one potential reason could be the cold snap that passed through the state last week.

Other researchers across the state are also exploring different theories because they said this phenomenon is not normal.

“On the missile range we might in a week find, get a report of less than half a dozen birds,” said Trish Cutler, a wildlife biologist at White Sands Missile Range. “This last week we’ve had a couple hundred, so that really got our attention.”

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