SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — The damage following last month’s storms not only impacted homeowners, but also wildlife.
Habitats were affected following the wind storms, leaving some animals without their homes, whether that’s because of damaged trees or flooded grasslands. But, it’s not always a bad thing.
Many wildlife habitats across eastern South Dakota are looking a little different following the May wind storms.
“We have had some challenges I think for the wildlife out there. Of course, nests from ducks or pheasants or other birds oftentimes are down in lower areas where there’s maybe some good grass growth early in the spring, those may have been flooded,” said Emmett Keyser, regional supervisor at the Outdoor Campus. “A lot of tree branches of course in the city and farmsteads that get blown down. Often a lot of times we have songbirds nesting in those and those are destroyed.”
But the fallen trees aren’t always a bad thing, they can create other habitats for wildlife.
“In shelter belts and things like that we had a lot of trees that survived, but a lot of broken branches, broken tops. A lot of those trees will be left and if there’s one thing cavity nesting birds are looking for, its trees with busted tops,” said John Ball Professor, SDSU Extension Forestry Specialist & South Dakota Department of Agriculture Forest Health Specialist.
“We have trees oftentimes tipping over into the oxbow itself creates some fish habitat. Creates some logs for turtles to jump up on, creates some areas for ducks and other birds to loaf on,” said Keyser.
Hail was another concern.
“In some of the storms I know it was up to baseball sized so that could have certainly affected some of the wildlife, birds and even some of the larger animals, we’ve had situations in really heavy hail storms where we lost things like deer,” said Keyser.
But if you do find wildlife while cleaning up your storm damage, it’s best to leave them be.
“We always encourage folks to leave nature as it was, but our human instincts sometimes fight that,” said Keyser.