While a cold front made its way across western Iowa Monday night, it brought with it quick-changing weather conditions that the Iowa Department of Natural Resources believes resulted in the deaths of hundreds of birds.

It all started Monday evening, November 9, at about 9:30 p.m. That's when Steve Griebel, a conservation officer with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, started getting both texts and phone calls. They were all similar... about ducks and other birds discovered dead on roads in Woodbury County, near Sioux City. At the time, the National Weather Service in Sioux City reported freezing rain. There was also fog and mist in the area.

The next morning, Griebel went to investigate east of Sioux City on Highway 20. What he found was heartbreaking. He told the AP, as reported by KTLA,

I counted over 200 dead ducks on the highway, and can only imagine how many dead ones were out of sight in the ditch. It was all different species — mostly bluebills, but there were mallards, buffleheads, teal. It must have been an epic migration.

DNR officials believe the birds, which typically migrate at night, became confused as they flew from good weather into the teeth of a cold front. Struggling to see what was below them, Iowa waterfowl biologist Orrin Jones thinks they landed on wet roadways, believing they were actually taking refuge in wetlands. Unfortunately, fast-moving traffic led to their demise.

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