Wet and Snowy Spring Could Delay Bird Migration and Breeding

Apr 11, 2019

Humans aren’t the only species in South Dakota being affected by the unpleasant spring season. According to Dr. David Swanson, an ornithologist professor at the University of South Dakota, area birds are likely altering their plans this spring too, as it pertains to migration and breeding.

"Because it’s been cold so far [this spring] migration is a little bit slow, this year anyways. In terms of a lot of the sparrows and all that use the grasslands during migration. We’re not seeing many of those out there yet, and certainly they’re not going to be moving up here when the snowstorm hits," explained Swanson. "I expect that is going to delay migration some, and it might push back the start of the breeding dates for some of these birds as well."

Dr. Swanson said this week’s snowfall could also make it tough to find food for the birds who have already migrated back to South Dakota. He is currently working on a study with grassland birds, and how the unusually wet spring could disturb their overall living trends.