Bird deaths in No.Dakota – 07/30/2004

  • October 1, 2013 at 3:19 am #552

    Hundreds of Dead Birds Found for Sixth Straight Year at Popular
    Hunting Spot in North Dakota
    The Associated Press

    FARGO, N.D. July 29, 2004 — Hundreds of dead birds have been found
    for the sixth straight year at a popular hunting spot in south
    central North Dakota.
    Wildlife officials suspect that most of the deaths were caused by
    salmonella, and they are warning people not to handle dead or sick

    Officials discovered the deaths of about 1,500 gulls and cormorants
    in the last month on an island at the Roesler Lake Waterfowl
    Protection Area, near Lehr.

    “We’ve been looking at some management strategies to try and get the
    thing stopped,” said Bob Vanden Berge, district project leader with
    the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. “There aren’t really any good

    Although wildlife health officials have yet to conduct tests on the
    dead birds, they suspect that some of the deaths were caused by avian
    chlamydiosis. The disease, which primarily affects birds, can be
    transmitted to humans who come in direct contact with sick birds or
    areas where they congregate.

    Health officials said human cases are rare, and the disease can be
    easily treated with antibiotics. Infected people usually suffer flu-
    like symptoms.

    “We have to err on the side of caution,” said Rex Sohn, wildlife
    disease specialist at the U.S. Geological Survey’s National Wildlife
    Health Center in Madison, Wis. “We just want people to be aware of

    The Madison center has been testing dead birds from that site since
    1999. The deaths have resulted from different diseases, even within
    the same birds, said Kathryn Converse, wildlife disease specialist.

    “Anyplace where you have colonial nesting birds, if there is a
    disease outbreak it’s going to be spread around pretty quickly,”
    Converse said.

    Most of the birds die from salmonella or fungal diseases, Vanden
    Berge said.

    About 10,000 birds have been nesting in the area each year. In the
    past, most of the dead birds have been fledglings that are
    susceptible to disease, Converse said.

    Some of the sick birds may continue to fly for a while, Vanden Berge

    “Our concern is that someone will find one of these birds along the
    highway or some other place and want to nurse it back to health,”
    Vanden Berg said. “But it’s not a good idea to pick up a sick or dead
    bird, especially if it’s a gull or a cormorant.”

    Signs have been posted at the wetland area, advising hunters and
    other visitors about the outbreak.

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