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Birds In Oklahoma Impacted By Frigid Temperatures

A Northern Cardinal perches on a bird feeder in Norman.
WildCare Foundation
A Northern Cardinal perches on a bird feeder in Norman.

People in Oklahoma weren’t the only ones affected by the recent record cold temperatures. So was the state’s bird population. 

Some species in Oklahoma that are in their northernmost winter range, such as waterbirds like White Pelicans, were not equipped to endure the extreme drop in temperatures. 

Double-crested Cormorants were hit particularly hard. Dr. Kyle Abbott, a veterinarian at the nonprofit wildlife rehabilitation facility WildCare in Noble, said he saw over 50 dead cormorants during a visit to Lake Hefner. 


They're designed to be insulated against cold water, but not this kind of subzero temperatures,” Abbott said. “And they're also a species that really relies on having a constant water source, both to maintain their hydration and so that they can fish. And since Lake Hefner was almost 100% fully covered in ice, they haven't been able to do their normal activities.” 


He said there's also been an influx of robins appearing in urban areas in search of food since what they would normally forage for was covered by snow. 


Contact WildCare for specific instructions regarding a wild animal of concern. 


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Katelyn discovered her love for radio as a student employee at KGOU, graduating from the University of Oklahoma with a bachelor’s degree in journalism, and then working as a reporter and producer in 2021-22. Katelyn has completed internships at SiriusXM in New York City and at local news organizations such as The Journal Record and The Poteau Daily News. Katelyn served as president of the OU chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists from 2017 to 2020. She grew up in Midland, Texas.
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