Monday, 15 July 2024

Weather makes dead bird collection difficult

 

The Department of Fish & Game (DFG) is about to enter its second week in working to pick up the dead animals, which the agency said is vital in preventing the disease from spreading further.


DFG Game Warden Lynette Shimek said Thursday that due to the fog on the lake that day crews were only out for a few hours.


In that time, she said, the crews picked up 306 ducks, bringing the total of dead birds collected to 7,107.


“It's pretty dangerous to go out there when it's foggy or rough,” she said.


More fog is anticipated today, Shimek said. Crews are expected to start work on the lake at around noon.


Last weekend, DFG crews from the Gray Lodge Wildlife Area near Gridley returned home for the weekend. If it's necessary, the crews will stay and continue working through this weekend, Shimek said.


The last avian cholera outbreak in January 2004 stopped at 8,000 dead birds, mostly ruddy ducks, said Shimek. The hope is that this latest outbreak won't grow any larger than that, she added.


Some grebes have been found among the birds dead from cholera, but Shimek said many of the grebe casualties found in recent days have, in fact, died due to being tangled in fishing line.


“It just makes me sick,” she said.


She recounted working with fellow game warden Loren Freeman to try to catch a grebe tangled in line, but it kept diving and finally escaped.


“It ruined my night, it made me feel so bad,” she said, adding that she knew the animal would likely die.


But the folks at the Pine Dell Resort called her later to say they had successfully sneaked up on the struggling bird, caught it, untangled the line and let the happy grebe return to the lake.


“It made me feel really good,” said Shimek.


She explained that people often get upset when she writes them tickets for unattended fishing poles or for littering because they've left fishing line behind.


Referring to the rescued grebe, she said, “That's a perfect example of why you can't do that.”


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


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