ENVIRONMENT

Thousands of dead birds are washing ashore at the Great Salt Lake

Feb 6, 2023, 6:00 PM

Tens of thousands of dead birds are washing up on the shores of the Great Salt Lake. Wildlife exper...

Tens of thousands of dead birds are washing up on the shores of the Great Salt Lake. Wildlife experts say it's all very normal. Ducks fly over the Great Salt Lake Shorelands Preserve, as they approach a pond made from storm water in western Davis County on Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2023. (Kristin Murphy, Deseret News)

(Kristin Murphy, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — Tens of thousands of dead birds are washing up on the shores of the Great Salt Lake. Wildlife experts say it’s all very normal. 

John Luft, program manager of the Great Salt Lake Ecosystem Program, said millions of birds migrate to Utah every winter. Between 10,000 to 20,000 of these birds die and end up in the Great Salt Lake.

Because the lake is so salty and cold, those birds aren’t decomposing. 

“It basically pickles those birds, so they don’t decompose as they would in other places,” Luft said. 

This means the birds washing up now, actually died months ago. 

“They’re not freshly dead, they’ve been washing around through the waves for quite some time,” Luft said. 

The only thing that’s different this year is that several dead eared grebes have tested positive for avian flu, according to Luft. 

Previous years have seen cholera outbreaks kill thousands of birds. 

Luft also says it’s normal for the dead birds to wash ashore all the way into July.

Further reading

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Environment

Noah Pirkle snowshoes by the Mill B trailhead in Big Cottonwood Canyon on Monday, Jan. 15, 2024....

Carter Williams

Comparing Utah’s snowpack this winter with the rest of the West

Utah's mountains gained 12.9 inches of snow water equivalent, otherwise known as snowpack, between the season start on Dec. 1 to its end on Thursday

2 hours ago

Cars drive on I-80 with a snowy mountain backdrop after snowstorms hit the Wasatch Front throughout...

Adam Small

More snow expected along the Wasatch Front Monday

The Wasatch Front will see some snow on Monday which could impact drivers during the evening commute.

10 hours ago

...

Alex Cabrero

South Jordan residents react to thousands of tumbleweeds in front of their homes

As heavy winds blew through a Daybreak neighborhood in South Jordan, avoiding tumbleweeds kind of became a sport.

2 days ago

Salt Lake City International Airport is also being impacted by the winterstorm moving through Utah....

Mark Jones

Delays, cancelations reported at Salt Lake City International Airport

As of 7:40 p.m. on Saturday, airport officials said 146 flights had been delayed, which is 39% of the departing flights.

2 days ago

Crews working on a power pole that was damaged when heavy winds blew through the area near Shivwits...

Derrick Jones

Power restored to thousands, work continues, after winter slams Utah

Rocky Mountain Power attributed the outages to power lines downed or damaged by the wind and snow.

2 days ago

Tumbleweeds surround an Eagle Mountain home on March 2, 2024. (Photo credit: Brennen Katsos)...

Josh Ellis

High winds hit Wasatch Front as storm moves in

Winds will continue to increase over western Utah valleys Saturday ahead of a front and spread into southern Utah.

2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Mother and cute toddler child in a little fancy wooden cottage, reading a book, drinking tea and en...

Visit Bear Lake

How to find the best winter lodging in Bear Lake, Utah

Winter lodging in Bear Lake can be more limited than in the summer, but with some careful planning you can easily book your next winter trip.

Happy family in winter clothing at the ski resort, winter time, watching at mountains in front of t...

Visit Bear Lake

Ski more for less: Affordable ski resorts near Bear Lake, Utah

Plan your perfect ski getaway in Bear Lake this winter, with pristine slopes, affordable tickets, and breathtaking scenery.

front of the Butch Cassidy museum with a man in a cowboy hat standing in the doorway...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Looking Back: The History of Bear Lake

The history of Bear Lake is full of fascinating stories. At over 250,000 years old, the lake has seen generations of people visit its shores.

silhouette of a family looking over a lake with a bird in the top corner flying...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

8 Fun Activities To Do in Bear Lake Without Getting in the Water

Bear Lake offers plenty of activities for the whole family to enjoy without having to get in the water. Catch 8 of our favorite activities.

Wellsville Mountains in the spring with a pond in the foreground...

Wasatch Property Management

Advantages of Renting Over Owning a Home

Renting allows you to enjoy luxury amenities and low maintenance without the long-term commitment and responsibilities of owning a home.

Clouds over a red rock vista in Hurricane, Utah...

Wasatch Property Management

Why Southern Utah is a Retirement Paradise

Retirement in southern Utah offers plenty of cultural and recreational opportunities. Find out all that this region has to offer.

Thousands of dead birds are washing ashore at the Great Salt Lake