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National Wildlife Health Center

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USGS National Wildlife Health Center
Quarterly Wildlife Mortality Report
January 1996 to March 1996

Location Dates Species Mortality Diagnosis Reported
AK Pribilof Islands 02/25/96-03/04/96 Common Murre 400(e) Emaciation NW
AL Lake Point Lodge State Park 07/05/95-07/06/95 Unidentified Duck; Mallard 18 Toxicosis: diazinon SC
CA Salton Sea NWR 12/25/95-01/08/96 Ruddy Duck; Unidentified Gull; Northern Shoveler; Black-necked Stilt; Green-winged Teal 1,000(e) Avian cholera NW
CA Lower Klamath NWR 12/12/95-01/10/96 American Wigeon; Mallard; American Coot; Northern Pintail; Green-winged Teal 900(e) Avian cholera NW
CA San Joaquin River NWR 01/08/96-03/08/96 Canada (Aleutian) Goose; Canada (Cackling) Goose; American Coot; White-fronted Goose; Ruddy Duck 171 Avian cholera NW
CA Bouldin Island; near Lodi 12/25/95-01/03/96 Tundra Swan 150(e) Avian cholera suspect CA
CA Humboldt Bay NWR 01/26/96-02/04/96 American Coot; Canada Goose; American Wigeon; Unidentified Gull; Tundra Swan 960(e) Avian cholera NW
CA Lower Klamath NWR 01/01/96-02/16/96 Tundra Swan; Trumpeter Swan 300 Avian cholera NW
CA Merced NWR 11/01/95-02/04/96 Snow Goose; Ross' Goose 334 Avian cholera suspect NW
FL Southwest coast 03/01/96-ongoing Manatee 155 Open FL
IA Northern Iowa 03/24/96-03/26/96 American Coot; Unidentified Duck 7,000(e) Trauma: storm NW
ID Bonner County 03/07/96-04/10/96 Evening Grosbeak 20(e) Salmonellosis NW
KS Miami 01/25/96-ongoing American Goldfinch; Pine Siskin; Blue Jay; Downy Woodpecker 80 Toxicosis: organo-phosphorus compound NW
MD Severn 08/12/88-08/14/88 American Goldfinch; Brown-headed Cowbird 20(e) Toxicosis: carbofuran NY
MO SE Missouri (Duck Creek WMA) 02/19/96-03/15/96 Snow Goose; Unidentified Duck; Canada Goose 130(e) Avian cholera NW
MO St. Louis 01/01/96-ongoing House Finch 4 Open: mycoplasmosis suspect NW
NE Rainwater Basin 03/03/96-03/22/96 Snow Goose; Northern Pintail; White-fronted Goose; Mallard; Redhead 8,827 Avian cholera NW
NE Platte River (Grand Island) 03/24/96-03/25/96 Sandhill Crane 2,000(e) Trauma: storm NW
NM Bosque del Apache NWR 01/15/96-02/25/96 Snow Goose; Sandhill Crane; Mallard; Northern Shoveler; Green-winged Teal 78 Avian cholera NW
NV Carson Lake 02/29/96- 03/27/96 American Coot; Snow Goose; Ross' Goose; Northern Pintail' American Wigeon 554 Avian cholera NW
NY Florida 02/05/95-02/06/95 European Starling; Dark-eyed Junco; Blue Jay 27 Toxicosis: carbofuran NY
NY Clarence 05/24/95-05/25/95 Canada Goose 14 Toxicosis: diazinon NY
NY Rochester (Town of Greece) 08/30/95-08/31/95 Mallard 25 Toxicosis: diazinon NY
NY Rochester 09/29/95-09/30/95 Mallard 23 Toxicosis: diazinon NY
NY Perinton 08/18/95-08/19/95 Red-winged Blackbird 5 Toxicosis: diazinon NY
NY Greece 09/15/95-09/27/96 Mallard 38 Toxicosis: diazinon NY
OH Cuyahoga Valley 03/13/96-03/28/96 White-tailed Deer 40(e) Starvation NW
OR Roseburg   Myrtle Creek 01/15/96-02/15/96 Pine Siskin Purple Finch 100(e) Salmonellosis suspect NW
OR Carty Reservoir 02/01/96-02/20/96 Ruddy Duck; American Coot; Pied-billed Grebe; Northern Shoveler; Double-crested Cormorant 100(e) Emaciation NW
OR J.B.Hansen NWR 02/01/96-03/10/96 White-tailed Deer 50(e) Emaciation NW
TX Ranch 01/01/96-01/22/96 Snow Goose 50(e) Open NW
Chesterfield VA 12/24/95-01/03/96 Common Grackle 40(e) Open: toxicosis suspect SC
WA McNary NWR 02/01/96-02/16/96 Mallard; American Coot; Double-crested Cormorant; Black-crowned Night Heron; Domestic Mallard 266 Avian cholera NW
WA Kitsap County 03/17/96-03/17/96 American Wigeon 8 Open: toxicosis suspect NW
WI Hustisford 03/24/96-03/24/96 Canada Goose 9 Trauma: storm NW
WI Madison 03/25/96-ongoing House Finch 12 Open: mycoplasmosis suspect NW

(e) = estimate; * = morbidity and mortality

National Wildlife Health Center (NW); Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study (SC); California Department of Fish and Game - Wildlife Investigations Laboratory (CA); Florida Marine Research Institute (FL); New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NY).

Written and compiled by Gregory Kidd, NWHC. The Quarterly Wildlife Mortality Report is available at http://www.nwhc.usgs.gov. To report mortality or receive information about this report, contact the above NWHC staff, e-mail: kathy_converse@usgs.gov., or for Hawaiian Islands contact Thierry Work. Phone: (608) 270-2400, FAX: (608) 270-2415 or write USGS National Wildlife Health Center, 6006 Schroeder Road, Madison, WI 53711.

Quarterly Mortality Reports

The following highlights wildlife mortality and morbidity events reported to the National Wildlife Health Research Center (NWHC) from January through March, 1996. For ease of agency reporting, the table will be ordered by state rather than flyway or region.

Avian cholera was the predominant disease again this winter, accounting for all six die-offs in California. Salton Sea National Wildlife Refuge (NWR), a past site of avian cholera die-offs, reported that mortality was primarily in ruddy ducks using an area north of the Alamo River. Humbolt Bay NWR, on the coast of northern California, reported that at least 930 of 1,500 coots on the refuge died of avian cholera. Fortunately, only a few of the estimated 10,000 ducks present were affected. There were two distinct peaks of avian cholera mortality at the Lower Klamath NWR in northern California. In early December, avian cholera mortality occurred at low levels throughout the refuge in several species of ducks. As duck mortality subsided in early January, mortality began in swans. Necropsy examination of tundra swans and a few trumpeter swans that were initially suspected to have died from lead poisoning, confirmed avian cholera as the cause of death. Based on past history, refuge staff suspect that some of the swans did die of lead poisoning.

Near Kearney, Nebraska, in the Rainwater Basin, 6,170 snow geese, 1,096 northern pintails and 1,561 other ducks and geese were collected on two areas where avian cholera has occurred in the past. At this site, an estimated one million snow geese were crowded into limited open water creating ideal conditions for the transmission of avian cholera.

Scientists from several agencies, headed up by the Florida Marine Research Institute in the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, are seeking clues to the cause of death for 155 manatees found between Englewood and Marco Island, Florida. Their investigation includes evaluation for a biotoxin associated with red tide occurring in the mortality area, infectious disease agents or other toxins.

Storm related trauma was reported in several species following a blizzard that struck the midwest in late March. A rainstorm that quickly changed into a snowstorm with winds in excess of 60 mph contributed to the death of 2,000 sandhill cranes in Nebraska's Rainwater Basin, 7,000 coots and ducks in northern Iowa and 9 Canada geese in Hustisford, Wisconsin. It is speculated that high winds and poor visibility may have caused birds to fly into powerlines, trees and other objects causing their death. There were also unconfirmed reports of storm related mortality of waterbirds and migrating passerines in surrounding states.

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYDEC) reported several cases of diazinon poisoning that occurred last year. All avian mortality was thought to be inadvertent and associated with the approved application of pesticides. The NYDEC also reported a suspected intentional misuse of carbofuran at a cattle feedlot that resulted in the death of three species of passerines.

The J.B. Hansen NWR, on the Oregon-Washington border, reported mortality in one of four subpopulations of endangered Columbian white-tailed deer. Higher than expected mortality occurred on Tenasillahee Island where deer populations have been increasing. Necropsies performed in the field revealed that most deer were emaciated with no body fat reserves and reduced muscle mass and light to moderate parasite loads. One contributing factor to this emaciation is increasing demands on food resources on the island caused by increasing numbers of migrating waterfowl during winter and an increasing nutria population.

Conjunctivitis, assumed to be caused by a mycoplasmal organism, continues to cause illness in house finches. New observations of conjunctivitis in house finches in Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin and Missouri indicate the disease is slowly spreading westward. In addition to house finches, Maryland and Virginia have reported conjunctivitis in goldfinches and purple finches. Investigation continues into the spread of this disease and the impact on bird populations.

For additional information please contact Dr. Scott Wright, USGS National Wildlife Health Center - Disease Investigations Branch Chief, at 608-270-2460 or Paul Slota, USGS National Wildlife Health Center - Support Services Branch Chief at 608-270-2420.

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