Monday, 15 July 2024

DFG: Number of dead birds continues to lessen


DFG Game Warden Lynette Shimek said Friday evening that the number of dead animals found that day – 435 – was down significantly from the previous day.

“We pulled off the lake right around 11:30 a.m. today,” Shimek said.

The grand total of birds collected so far – predominantly ruddy ducks – reached 4,919 Friday, said Shimek.

On Thursday DFG veterinarians concluded that avian cholera killed the animals.

The disease, which DFG biologists believe the ruddy ducks brought with them to the county, often strikes during the winter and early spring months, following the birds' migration patterns.

DFG brought nearly a dozen staffers from its Gray Lodge Wildlife Area near Gridley to help with collecting and disposing of the dead birds, a task necessary, officials said, to stop the spread of the disease.

Those additional staffers have left for the weekend, said Shimek.

“We're hoping that we're going to start collecting birds with our local resources,” she said, including local game wardens such as herself, local wildlife rescue organization SpiritWild and volunteers.

Shimek said she'll give DFG a full assessment Monday so they can decide if additional staff needs to return to continue assisting in collection.

Once DFG reached a diagnosis of avian cholera, it announced that members of the public could assist with picking up the animals. Shimek urges anyone touching the animals to wear gloves and place the animals in plastic bags.

Anyone collecting ducks is urged to call her at her office, 275-8862, to arrange for pickup.

In addition, anyone wanting to help pick up the birds can call her to find out more information, including where to look for the birds.

With a small storm blowing through this weekend, Shimek said they expect to have more birds appearing on the lake's shoreline.

“Shoreline patrol is going to be critical,” she said.

Earlier in the week, Shimek reported that most of the animals were dying in the main part of the lake and being carried to shore by wind and currents.

Although mostly ruddy ducks have died, Shimek reported this week that they've also found grebes and

buffleheads, another small duck species.

A similar duck die-off due to avian cholera struck the county in January 2004. During that event, more than 7,000 dead ducks and other waterfowl – again, mostly ruddys – died, DFG reported.

E-mail Elizabeth Larson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


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