Waterfowl Disease Outbreak

16 Jul Waterfowl Disease Outbreak

Possible Waterfowl Disease Outbreak

Sara Zaleski, Wildlife Research Technician with the ODNR Division of Wildlife, recently issued a statement that there is currently a possible disease outbreak occurring in waterfowl found in Erie, Ottawa, and Huron counties. Reports of sick and dead Canada geese and mallards started coming into the Erie County Wildlife Officer, Michele Butler, and our local wildlife rehabilitation center, Back to the Wild, around June 22nd.  Zaleski was made aware of the waterfowl die-off on July 6th.

The birds are often found lethargic, unable to walk or use their legs, and appear to drown while floating in the water. A Canada goose that was euthanized by Back to the Wild was shipped to the National Wildlife Health Center (NWHC) on July 7th; the Division of Wildlife is currently waiting for those test results. Two mallards and a Canada goose were shipped to the lab on Wednesday, July 14th as more reports from the public have been coming in to both the Division of Wildlife and Back to the Wild. 

As of now, only mallards and Canada geese have been affected. At least 20 geese and 15 mallards have been reported. The areas impacted thus far include Sandusky, Marblehead, Catawba, and Put-in-Bay. Most reports are coming from the lakeshore areas however, Zaleski was informed by Back to the Wild that they are receiving calls from Huron County of birds displaying similar symptoms, as well.

The Ohio Department of Agriculture was also informed of this situation, as Avian influenza is always a concern to the poultry industry.  As more results are obtained from the lab testing, information will readily be made available.  Erie County residents coming across any additional sick or deceased waterfowl can contact our Wildlife Officer at 419-356-8213 or the District 2 Division of Wildlife office at 419-429-5000.

Tim White
twhite@eriecounty.oh.gov