Dennis Anderson

Dennis Anderson has been a Star Tribune outdoors columnist since 1993, before which, for 13 years, he held the same position at the Pioneer Press. He enjoys casting and shooting. Dogs, too, and horses. Also kids and, occasionally, crusading in his column for improved conservation.

Mystery surrounds crash landing of thousands of birds in Utah

Posted by: Dennis Anderson under Birding Updated: December 16, 2011 - 1:09 PM

The Monday night crash landing of thousands of eared grebes in and near Cedar City, Utah, is being blamed on mistaken identity by the birds of a Walmart parking lot for a lake.

The birds were migrating during a storm when they apparently became confused and were forced to land.

About 1,500 grebes died and another 3,500 were rescued by state wildlife officials and volunteers, according to a report in the Salt Lake Tribune.

The dead birds were disposed of in a landfill. Uninjured birds that were rescued were released into a lake about 60 miles from where they landed.

The eared grebe is the most abundant grebe in the world, staging in fall on Mono Lake in California and the Great Salt Lake, where it doubles its weight in advance for a nonstop flight to the southwest U.S. and Mexico, where it winters.

Here's a range map for the eared grebe from the Cornell  Lab of Ornithology.



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