By Justin Schmidt, Multimedia Journalist - bio | email
LINWOOD, KS (KCTV) -
Even in the middle of winter the ongoing drought is being felt in all kinds of ways, even affecting some birds of a feather.
The effects of this summer's drought can already be seen through people's grocery bills, but at Operation WildLife just outside Linwood, KS, it's doubling the cost of what they feed their birds.
"The rodent suppliers feed their mice grain-based products so, when their pricing went up, they passed that increase on to us," said Diane Johnson, director of operation with Operation WildLife.
Johnson said her limited budget is being stretched further than she can remember.
"It makes it really tough. We are trying to be creative, we are trying to help ourselves out," she said.
But when they feed 400 mice and 100 rats a week to the dozens of birds at Operation WildLife, there's only so much they can do. Forty cent mice are now 85 cents and rats are now $2.50 each. The organization raised their own rodents, but they're at capacity now.
"Last year we took in one to two birds of prey a week during the winter - now we are averaging one to two a day," Johnson said.
Johnson said that too can be blamed on the drought because birds are having to venture closer to roads and people to find food.
"Where the grass is shorter or people threw food out of their car, the rodents congregate," she said.
Johnson has been running Operation WildLife for 25 years. She said she fears soon she'll have to start turning away injured animals.
"The animals we get in, 99 percent are injured by man. I just feel like it's our responsibility to make that right in any way we can," she said.
Click here to learn more about Operation WildLife and how you can donate.
Copyright 2013 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.
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