Wildlife took a beating from May 20 storm

Wildlife caught in the path of the May 20 devastating hail storm definitely took a beating.

An obvious one in Yuma were the turkey vultures and other birds. The vultures were caught on camera the morning after the storm seeking refuge on the front porch of a Yuma home.

Colorado Division of Wildlife Officer Josh Melby said he others took 15 of them to Greeley, where they met up with representatives of the Rocky Mountain Raptor Program in Fort Collins. Melby said he also took up an osprey and several other hawks last week. (One can see a video of the turkey vultures being admitted to the facility at the Rocky Mountain Raptor Program Facebook page.)

“Unfortunately I picked up a lot more dead ones than we have sent to the rehabilitator,” Melby shared.

He said he also found pronghorn, deer, raccoons, turkeys and a lot of smaller birds that were killed.

There were scores of birds killed in town. One family reported picking up 38 dead birds in their yard last Tuesday morning.

A fish kill-off also has occurred at Lake Yuma. Melby said it is due to the hail storm. Fish are not able to rapidly adjust to big changes in water temperature. With the large amounts of hail running into the pond, it rapidly dropped the temperature and shocked the fish, killing some of them.

The storm came during pheasant hatching season. Melby said the storm was devastating to the hatching areas that were in the fields in the storm’s path, but overall it had fairly small impact based on the scale, as outside of the storm path, the pheasant hatchings are still looking good.