Boulder County wildlife agencies are assessing the damage and impact recent flooding had on wildlife. While larger animals tend to move to higher ground--and safety--before a flood, it is usually the smaller animals which are found once flood waters go down. Birds, and even fish, don't fare well during a flood, according to a Daily Camera report.
One reason is that many animals lose their habitat due to flooding. Several baby squirrels were taken in by wildlife rehabilitation centers after they were washed out of their nests and away from their mothers.
Ironically, fish suffer during floods as well, when the silt and debris in the water makes it harder for them to get oxygen. Fish can also become stranded on shore after the waters recede.
A prairie dog colony in Boulder County remains under water, so whether they survived or not is currently unknown. Prairie dogs build portions of their burrows at higher elevations, which form air pockets, so there is a chance they may be able to survive.
Even birds are affected by torrential rains. Their feathers may lose their waterproofing in the heavy rains, which leaves them susceptible to hypothermia. The Greenwood Wildlife Rehabilitation Center received reports of "tons and tons" of dead birds, according to outreach manager Jenny Bryant.
Birds and mammals lose much of their food sources during flooding, and birds especially can starve. Other animals are forced to travel, sometimes into populated areas, in their search for food. A mother bear and her two cubs have been recently spotted in a Boulder neighborhood.
Bryant recommends keeping bird feeders full and having plenty of fresh water on hand for wildlife visitors.
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