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Daryl Ritchison, Published June 28 2009

Weather Talk: Cold conditions may doom reproduction of migrant birds

Much of Canada has been experiencing a very cold spring and summer, even by their standards. Temperatures have been running anywhere from 5 to 10 degrees below seasonal averages.

These extremely cold conditions have not been favorable for migrant birds to reproduce. Recent aerial surveys have found very few chicks, and researchers fear that the lateness of the spring of 2009 dooms local birds to a nearly complete reproductive failure.

The last time there was a late spring in northern Manitoba this cool was in 1983, and during that year virtually no lesser snow geese reproduced. This year has been even colder. Back in 1983, most species of birds did not nest at all, and this year some estimates are for a 90 percent reduction in chicks.

The weather over the next few weeks will be crucial in determining exactly how many geese will pass over our area come September.

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