"I hope you love birds too. It is economical. It saves going to heaven."
Emily Dickinson

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Possible botulism outbreak at Laguna Niguel Regional Park

Mallards were among the aquatic birds treated for botulism.  Photo by J.J. Meyer
An apparent outbreak of avian botulism has sickened more than 20 ducks and other aquatic birds at Laguna Niguel Regional Park.  Volunteers from the Wetlands and Wildlife Center in Huntington Beach scrambled yesterday to capture them for treatment at the rescue center.

The illness makes the birds floppy, or unable to hold up their heads; as it worsens they can lose the ability to close their eyes. The paralysis can quickly progress, leading to death.  Botulism outbreaks occur periodically in lakes and ponds in Orange County and across the country, often during warm weather, and are caused by a type of bacteria known as botulinum.

People can sometimes help cause outbreaks by tossing bread into lake water to feed the birds.  Bread can encourage bacterial growth.  Please pass this on.


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