SEE IT: Thousands of birds killed during hailstorm at Montana wildlife preserve

More than 11,000 waterfowl and wetland birds were killed after “baseball-sized” chunks of hail fell on a Montana wildlife management area last weekend, state officials said Friday.

GOLDEN EAGLE SPOTTED FLYING IN SCOTLAND WITH TRAP ATTACHED TO LEG

Ducks and shorebirds with broken wings, smashed skulls and other signs of internal bleeding were found on the shores around Big Lake Wildlife Management Area in Molt, Mont., authorities said.

Twenty to thirty percent of the entire bird population at the Big Lake Wildlife Management Area west of Molt, Montana were killed in last week's hailstorm, officials said.

Twenty to thirty percent of the entire bird population at the Big Lake Wildlife Management Area west of Molt, Montana were killed in last week's hailstorm, officials said. (Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks)

Biologists who surveyed the area estimated that between 11,000 and 13,000 birds were found dead or badly injured after the hailstorm.

Large hail was blamed for killing thousands of birds in Montana.

Large hail was blamed for killing thousands of birds in Montana. (Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks)

Most of the injured birds are not expected to survive. About 20 to 30 percent of the entire bird population at the lake died in the storm, according to FWP wildlife biologist Justin Paugh.

Local weather reports said the towns of Molt and Rapelje, both located near the wildlife management area, received two inches of hail in conditions of 70 mph winds, the press release said. The hailstorm reportedly flattened crops, shattered windows and damaged roofs and vehicles in the area.

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Big Lake Wildlife Management Area's lake and surrounding wetlands serve as the nesting areas for dozens of species of ducks, Canada geese, double-crested cormorants, shorebirds, gulls, pelicans and other waterfowl, the agency said. Officials will continue to monitor for signs of diseases, including botulism, which is caused by rotting carcasses, in order to protect the surviving bird population.