Thousands of dead birds are washing ashore at the Great Salt Lake
Feb 6, 2023, 6:00 PM
(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.
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