IDAHO FALLS, Idaho – A lightning storm likely killed more than 100 geese in Idaho Falls, wildlife officials said.
About 50 geese were found dead in a parking lot and another 60 were found dead on the roof of a nearby warehouse, KIFI-TV reported.
The dead birds include snow geese and Ross’s Geese.
Idaho Falls Fish and Game received reports of the geese carcasses late Saturday.
John Keyes, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Pocatello, told the Idaho State Journal that the Idaho Falls area saw lightning and hail as large as golf balls.
“We saw numerous reports of damage to windows,” Keyes said. “There were reports of siding that was damaged by hail, being driven into it by the strong wind and even vinyl fences. I even saw some pictures of some playground equipment that was damaged by hail falling through the plastic playground equipment.”
It’s likely that the geese were hit by lightning from the storm as they were flying, said Jacob Berl, a conservation officer with Idaho Falls Fish and Game.
The geese would have been more spread out, and some would have been alive, but injured if hail had been responsible for the deaths, said James Brewer with Idaho Fish and Game.
“Several of them had ruptured stomachs,” Berl said. “Their internal organs had ruptured. … So that more than likely happened from the lightning itself or potentially from the impact of the crash.
Some of the geese carcasses were taken to a Caldwell wildlife health lab for a necropsy, an autopsy for animals, to determine their official cause of death.