Just spreading the word - Texas Parks and Wildlife - Winter Storm Uri Wildlife Deaths project

Please, spread the word to add your Texas winter storm death observations to the Winter Storm Uri Wildlife Deaths project. Spread the word, please.

Texas Parks and Wildlife is trying to better understand the impacts of Winter Storm Uri (mid-February 2021) on wildlife. Please contribute any observations of wildlife that you suspect were killed due to the cold and include photos where possible. Please also complete the extra observation field "Number of Individuals" so we can account for multiple individuals that were noted in a given observation.

@amzapp @gcwarbler @ellen5 @jotol @oddfitz @thebark @wildcarrot @annikaml @kimberlietx @aguilita @nanofishology @dan_johnson @brentano @cgritz @anewman @connlindajo @tadamcochran @charley @scottbuckel @eric_keith @jeffmci9 @mikef451 @itmndeborah @cosmiccat @shaunmichael @nathantaylor @galactic_bug_man @catenatus @ecarpe @cameralenswrangler @bosqueaaron @gpstewart @mikaelb @lisa281 @pfau_tarleton @mchlfx @hydaticus @alisonnorthup @aguilita @butterflies4fun @ptexis @baxter-slye @beschwar @wild-about-texas @lseman @centratex @jwn @briangooding @rick57 @rehb @fiddleman @rednat @johnkarges @justjenny @tiwane @psyllidhipster @silversea_starsong @txstack @pynklynx @mako252 @jeffmci9 @tdavenport @lovebirder @krancmm @philipwoodscc @jciv @jcochran706 @galactic_bug_man @austinrkelly @aidancampos @catherine_g @mikaelb @kbbutler @kathrynwells333 @donovanmoxley @bcfl14 @pufferchung @knightericm @rednat @joshua_tx @taniahomayoun @sambiology

Publicado por lovebirder lovebirder, 23 de febrero de 2021

Observaciones

Fotos / Sonidos

Qué

Papamoscas Fibí Sayornis phoebe

Observ.

lovebirder

Fecha

Febrero 15, 2021 12:14 PM CST

Descripción

I was devastated to find that this EAPH had taken refuge in the nest to try to stave off the cold, wind and snow, but it froze there. RIP

Fotos / Sonidos

Qué

Huilota Común Zenaida macroura

Observ.

lovebirder

Fecha

Febrero 16, 2021 09:17 AM CST

Descripción

victim of the hard freezes

Comentarios

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Thankfully, I didn't encounter any casualties directly related to Winter Storm Uri (aka The Polar Express), but I'll help spread the word!

Publicado por kathrynwells333 hace 4 meses (Marca)
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I did not see any casualties directly related either, but did notice many observations by others across the state. Then, I saw @mako252 's observations of the fish kill on the Texas Coast. Appalling.

Publicado por connlindajo hace 4 meses (Marca)
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Thanks for making me aware of this. I've only seen a couple of birds, but know other who've seen a lot. I'm sharing this link to our TX Master Naturalist chapter, and a birding facebook group I'm on. Thank you!

Publicado por txstack hace 4 meses (Marca)
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Publicado por baxter-slye hace 4 meses (Marca)
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Here’s an article describing the 1983-4 winter storm we had that out froze this past storm by quite a bit out here in the Hill Country. The air mass pushed well out into the Gulf of Mexico and froze the Laguna Madre. I doubt this one did because even here, the day after the coldest day, Tuesday, we went above freezing in our downtown lot each succeeding day, thermometers reading above 32 every day thereafter and the snow and ice melting each day. And of course, Saturday we were in the 60s and yesterday in the mid seventies. I was in shirtsleeves. In 83-84 our ground in our lot (and all around) froze and since we didn’t have any predicted snow or ice, what moisture was in the ground froze the soil into foot square blocks like what happens in the arctic. Walking on the ground meant you had to wear your heavy duty hiking boots due to the rugged nature of the terrain. This article says Houston experienced five days of below freezing weather, setting a record. Also, I don’t remember an uptick in wild bird deaths or other impacts. Just frigid air. What was different from that storm and our recent one was in ’83 the wind howled in a way I never heard before and the sound alone was unsettling. This storm was the first winter storm I felt could just flat out kill us without trouble and resulting in our loosing all interest in the ‘beauty’ of winter and the cold North! We prayed for Global Warming;-)

https://www.chron.com/sports/outdoors/article/Effects-lessons-of-1983-freeze-evident-on-Texas-5092926.php

I've seen one deer carcass so far, but photo is still in the camera. I notice Black Vultures hanging around in trees during the day, a sign of something dead nearby.

@baldeagle: Here is an additional hope for those working on Riparian habitat restoration and alien species eradication: We had a large Glossy Privet in our yard. After the freeze, it died and eventually rotted away leaving seedlings as the only sign it had existed. Those I pulled up and our lot is Privet free. I will be watching the alien shrub/tree invaders in hopes the cold will have a devastating on the population. Perhaps this is the silver lining in this devastating development.

Publicado por billarbon hace 4 meses (Marca)
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I added a link to the project to the North Central Texas Wildlife group on Facebook, thanks for the info.

Publicado por rehb hace 4 meses (Marca)
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@billarbon, I have been out in the park a couple of times monitoring results of several experimental plots and several eradication projects. In Austin, the only advantage the freeze seems to have given us is that the privets no longer blend in with the junipers at all. Looking up, if I see brown leaves I know that it is either a glossy privet we missed or a glossy privet my volunteers didn't do properly (missed a trunk, left a bridge of phloem in place, or the like). That has made it much easier to find and finish off those stragglers.

But other than a few burned tips of new shoots, they have all made it through unscathed. The bark is easy to peel—almost jumping off the trunks—right now, so I've made decent progress on completing the work. I still have dozens of trees—and scores of trunks—to go. I'll have to get my own yard in better shape faster so I can take advantage of this opportunity.

Publicado por baldeagle hace 3 meses (Marca)
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@baldeagle I guess I am going to surprise you with photos of our privets - including those huge trees the Cedar Waxwings in my observation so heavily browsed - showing their debilitated states.

https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/67655763

I am writing up a message to our group of volunteers now and will include photos that I think will demonstrate what we're seeing. Whether or not our privets are actual victims of the cold weather (and our remediation efforts) will be interesting to watch. We are normally, three to five degrees colder than Austin temperatures and may have remained below freezing for a longer period of time. Regardless, these many privets will be hard put to return to their previous robust condition very quickly, giving us additional time to consider our options and tactics for further management and getting a break from their prodigious seed production and distribution via avians .

Publicado por billarbon hace 3 meses (Marca)
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@billarbon from a distance the privets I'm dealing with look terrible—every leaf dry and gray or brown, falling to the ground to form a thick mulch—but the branches that didn't fracture under the weight of the ice are still turgid. Basal shoots are still green, except for the last few inches of growth, which was tender enough to have died in any hard freeze. So I am actually hopeful that they were not heavily damaged in their crowns.

You see, privets respond to top death by putting out many vigorous basal shoots. You've no doubt seen this when people have cut a tree to the ground. As soon as conditions are suitable for growth, the stump will send up as many shoots as it can. Instead of one trunk, you have six or eight. Girdling interferes with the tree's recovery system by leaving the top in place to demand water and to continue shading out the basal buds. With limited light and a top continuously demanding more water than the dying root system can provide, those basal shoots die.

But when a freeze or drought kills the top, it's just like the tree that got cut off at the ground. If the root system is not killed, we will have many shoots arising from the base of each tree. Those shoots will take a lot more effort to manage as we continue our assault. They will form those dense tangles of trunks that we can't completely girdle because of how tightly they're packed. If that happens, I'll have to think about quick ways to let a few trunks grow while spacing them widely from the original trunk and one another.

In the meantime, I'll be out there girdling away.

Publicado por baldeagle hace 3 meses (Marca)
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I am reminded of the Privet that died in our lot after the freeze of 83-84, worse for us than this freeze. I've just added a group of Privet observations that we can monitor and watch for redevelopment. If these trees recover per your comments above, perhaps cutting and canning the trunks close to the ground will finish the trees off once and for all. This certainly gives us an opportunity to learn more and take advantage of weather impacts on our unwanted alien invaders. I am hoping for a leg up. BTW, I made the rounds today and can confirm Chinese Privets are already showing green leaf sprouts on their branches.

Publicado por billarbon hace 3 meses (Marca)
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Thanks, Bill!

Publicado por baldeagle hace 3 meses (Marca)

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