ST. GEORGE, Utah -- Thousands of migratory birds were killed or injured after apparently mistaking a Wal-Mart parking lot, football fields and other snow-covered areas of southern Utah for bodies of water and plummeting to the ground in what a state wildlife expert called the worst mass bird crash she'd ever seen.

Crews went to work cleaning up the dead birds and rescuing the injured survivors after the creatures crash-landed in the St. George area Monday night.

By midday yesterday 3,000 birds had been rescued and released into a nearby pond. Officials estimate 1,500 birds died.

The flock of eared grebes, an aquatic bird, was probably making its way to the Mexican coast for the winter. -- AP

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