The Cheyenne Bottoms are on the North American Central Flyway, kind of a bird highway for migration. The vast, diverse marsh provides food and water for a multitude of migrating bird species during both spring and fall migrations. Most of Kansas is too dry for such a stopover, and reservoirs are too deep. Birds need shallow water and long shorelines.
Summer 2022 had below normal precipitation statewide and above normal temperatures. No water was available from Wet Walnut Creek to divert into the Bottoms. By November 2022, the U.S. Drought Monitor showed that a third of Kansas was in exceptional drought. Landsat images from October 2021 and October 2022 show that birds had nothing to stop for in fall 2022.