October 1, 2013 at 3:19 am #552MikeKeymaster
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-
“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,”
Most of the birds die from salmonella or fungal diseases, Vanden
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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