Giant Flock of Eared Grebes Crash into Wal-Mart Parking Lot

When water ices up, some duck hunters will use a tarp to fool ducks into thinking it's open water. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't, but the same concept recently fooled a huge flock of migrating grebes, with tragic results.

From this story on cbsnews.com:

Authorities were shocked to find more than 4,000 birds scattered across a local Utah Wal-Mart parking lot on Monday night. According to CBS affiliate KUTV in Salt Lake City, Utah, witnesses claimed thousands of the creatures had crash-landed in the parking area.

_At least 1,500 Eared Grebes, a duck-like aquatic bird, which slammed into the pavement were dead. Fortunately, Utah Department of Wildlife Resource officials and volunteers were able to rescue up to 3,000 of the large flock. According to The Spectrum, officials think the birds were migrating to Mexico and decided to take a rest in the Wal-Mart parking lot, which they mistook for a large body of water since the Eared Grebes can only take off from water surfaces. Officials suspect the birds didn't compensate for landing on the hard pavement.

They added to KUTV that a storm in the area probably lead to the birds' confusion. "The storm clouds over the top of the city lights made it look like a nice, flat body of water. All the conditions were right," Teresa Griffin, of the state's wildlife department, told The Spectrum. "So the birds landed to rest, but ended up slamming into the pavement."_

Anyone ever witness anything like that?