© Cory Olsen | MLive.com
Dead waterfowl line the shore of Lake Macatawa near the Holland State Park Tuesday.
Harsh winter conditions have led to a large number of waterfowl deaths across the state, something Greenville resident Stephen Schnautz has seen first hand.
Schnautz, 33, a waterfowl hunting and ice fishing guide, said he's seen a variety of species that just couldn't make it through the winter.
"I've seen diving ducks, loons, swans, gulls, a little bit of everything,"
Schnautz said. "I've been down to the Kalamazoo River and seen dead birds on the river bank. They're everywhere.
The losses aren't just around West Michigan, Schnautz said.
"I guide on Saginaw Bay and I've seen them all the way down to Lake Erie," Schnautz said. "They're in Muskegon, Traverse City, up in Ludington, too. I've mostly seen canvass backs, redheads, long-tailed ducks and some types of mergansers.
Michigan DNR wildlife outreach technician Holly Vaughn said the die-off can be attributed to the amount of ice coverage on inland lakes as well as the Great Lakes.
"Most of the birds that are washing up are diving birds like canvass backs, redheads, long-tailed ducks and some types of mergansers," Vaughn said. "It's mostly because they weren't able to get to their main food source.