Taking a journey through local outdoor adventures

Texas Drought Tweaking Bird Migrations

Canadian cranes head back to Canada early

By Ramit Plushnick-Masti
|  Thursday, Mar 1, 2012  |  Updated 9:29 AM CDT
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Texas Drought Tweaking Bird Migrations

AP

Whooping cranes search for food in tall grass.

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Strange things are aloft in the bird world. Throughout the winter, scientists have noticed examples of bizarre bird migrations.

Endangered whooping cranes flew 2,500 miles from Canada to Texas, where they usually spend the whole winter. Instead, they pecked around for a short time and flew back.

In Nebraska, other cranes never left. Some ducks just kept flying south -- all the way to Belize in central America.

Scientists believe the unusual movements are the result of flocks becoming desperate for food and habitat becoming increasingly scarce because of the stubborn drought in Texas.

The unusually mild winter in the Northeast and Midwest has even persuaded some birds they could stay put, fly shorter distances or turn back north earlier than normal.

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