It has been a rough winter in the Hudson Valley. We had to deal with COVID-19, cold temperatures, a boatload of snow in February and various other events that really took a toll on not just us humans but many of our local wildlife. Local agencies that report on our animal populations are also seeing the signs of a rough winter.

The New York Department of Environmental Conservation (NYS DEC) shared on their Facebook page today why we are seeing so many dead fish this spring in New York. The term they used was winterkill. Winterkill is a term used to describe what happens when snow has accumulated on ice causing less light to penetrate the surface resulting in less photosynthesis in the plants.

The result of less photosynthesis is less oxygen in the water that organisms and fish need to survive the winter. If you come across an area affected by what you believe to be Winterkill the NYS DEC would like you to report it to your Regional DEC Fisheries Office.

Photo by Dylan Mullins on Unsplash

Black Rock Forest in Cornwall shared on their Facebook a grim picture of what happened to some of our local deer population this winter. Whitetail deer according to the post don't travel well in the type of conditions we saw this winter. This makes them more vulnerable to our local coyote population.

Black Rock Forest via Facebook March 19, 2021 photo by Jackie Skrzynski

The deer may not have survived the harsh temperatures and snowfall in February but its demise most likely made it easier for other animals to survive until temperatures warmed back up and spring arrived.

Coyote Hudson Highlands Nature Museum via Facebook 3-24-2021

Evidence of just how many animals benefit from the death of a deer can be seen in the time-lapse trail cam photos that were shared this week by the Hudson Highlands Nature Museum on their Facebook page. Follow the link to see the photos that captured everything from crows to coyotes to bobcats making a meal of a downed deer.


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