Botulism suspected in deaths of birds along Lake Michigan

Officials say botulism is suspected in the deaths of hundreds of birds recently along Lake Michigan.

Dan Ray, botulism monitoring project lead for Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, counted a large number of dead birds last week.

The Traverse City Record-Eagle reports he joined a team of volunteers over the weekend in burying 250 birds at Michigan’s Good Harbor Bay Beach.

Ray says the birds “almost certainly” died of type E botulism. He expects to see more dead birds on Lake Michigan’s shoreline through November.

Typically, type E botulism occurs in fish-eating birds in the open waters of the Great Lakes.

The nonprofit conservation group Common Coast says the bird deaths extended at least 10 miles up the Leelanau Peninsula and past Leland, Michigan.

On the Web

http://www.nps.gov/slbe/learn/nature/sick-birds.htm

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