Cold Weather Stresses Valley Wildlife - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

Cold Weather Stresses Valley Wildlife

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  It's been a long, brutal stretch of bone chilling cold across our region. We've all heard how our extreme wind chills can freeze exposed skin in just minutes. But, imagine having to survive outdoors 24-7.

  Wildlife experts say the longer the cold and snow stick around, the more stress is causes to all types of wildlife.

Ross Hier, DNR: "Certainly, some animals will suffer mortality from this. But, those that have evolved in the north country and know how to deal with it… Is it stressful on them? Yes."

  Hier says their wildlife rating system for winter weather, currently puts the stress level on deer at the moderate to severe level. He says that can turn around with warmer temperatures. He says fur bearers, like this coyote running across the field way back there, and fox are built to deal with the cold weather and snow.  

Ross Hier, DNR: "Both coyotes and fox feed on rodents and they can hear animals under the snow and then pounce."

  And Hier says birds like Sparrows and Starlings find heat by chimneys and other places around buildings to survive.  He says birds like grouse have learned to adapt to winter by burrowing beneath the snow.

  However, Hier says one important point for you backyard bird feeders is to keep feeding those birds, if you start feeding them during the winter.

Ross Hier, DNR: "Once you get something hooked, you need to keep them going."

  Hier says recent helicopter surveys show that more and more people are now spending thousands of dollars feeding deer during the winter. He says he's seen herds of as many as 200 deer being fed by people.

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