Hungry birds struggle for life as ice, snow melt


The recent heavy fall of snow, followed by a thick covering of ice, produced a rock-like snow pack through which much local wildlife could not penetrate in their search for food, and starvation was the result for many pheasants, quail, geese and others, according to naturalists.

The animals have found some relief with the current rains and melting ice in central Iowa, which have revealed their meager food supplies, and some will survive to perpetuate the blessed round of nature.

Iowa’s 36-million acre landscape once was composed of about two-thirds tall grass prairie, 7 million acres of forests and woodlands and 4 million acres of prairie pothole wetlands, according to wildlife biologists.

During a 100-year period from 1850 to 1950, more than 99 percent of Iowa’s prairies, 95 percent of wetlands and 75 percent of woodlands were destroyed along with the pollinators, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals they supported.

It has been estimated that Iowa has undergone the most landscape alteration and native habitat destruction of any state in the Midwest, according to scientists. The outlook is bleak, and the public is largely ignorant of the magnitude of what is going on.


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