Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Water Bird Die Off

Sometimes it seems like the concept of longevity is lost on birds in the wild because they are more likely to be killed from something else - collisions, predation, accidents, poisoning, bizarre diseases and a myriad other things. The longer I am a birder and read about the perils they face, the more it seems that birds are just about the most underappreciated creatures on the planet in dire need of a break…but the break never comes, and things seem to just keep on getting worse for them. Like the feral cat issue, the root cause for the problem lies squarely on our shoulders.

Here’s a release from US Fish & Wildlife concerning a large-scale die off of water birds:

"Trematode-caused waterfowl and coot mortality has been documented each spring and fall on Lake Onalaska since the 2002 spring migration. During the 2004 spring migration, about 1,060 sick/dead birds were found and total mortality was estimated at 2,400 to 2,700. Comparable losses occurred during the 2004 fall migration. Mortality this spring was first observed on March 28 and is expected to continue through the end of April."

Click here for the full article.

American Coot image © 2005 Michael Allen McDowell

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