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National Wildlife Health Center

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USGS National Wildlife Health Center
Quarterly Wildlife Mortality Report
January 1997 to March 1997

Location Dates Species Mortality Diagnosis Reported
CA Eagle Lake 12/05/96-12/24/96 Pied-billed Grebe; Eared Grebe; Clark's Grebe; American Coot; Common Goldeneye 77 Avian cholera CA
CA San Joaquin River NWR 12/07/96-01/07/97 Canada (Aleutian) Goose; American Coot; Mallard; Canada (Cackling) Goose; White-fronted Goose 59 Avian cholera NW
CA Hayward Marsh 10/21/96-02/07/97 Ruddy Duck; American Coot; Northern Shoveler; Bufflehead; Gadwall 376 Avian cholera CA
CA China Island WMA 01/25/97-02/13/97 American Coot; American Wigeon; Gadwall; Green-winged Teal; Mallard 711 Avian cholera CA
CA Merced NWR 12/17/96-01/31/97 American coot; Ross' Goose; Snow Goose; Northern Shoveler; Mallard 4034(e) Avian cholera NW
CA Modoc NWR 02/16/97-02/16/97 Tundra Swan 4 Avian cholera NW
CA Delevan NWR 02/21/97-03/12/97 Green-winged Teal; Northern Pintail; Snow Goose; American Coot; White-fronted Goose 54 Botulism Type C NW
CA Salton Sea 03/08/97-ongoing American White Pelican; Unidentified Gull; Clark's Grebe; Surf Scoter 25(e) Botulism Type C NW
CA Salton Sea 03/10/97-ongoing Eared Grebe 2100(e) Open NW
CA Salton Sea 02/01/97-04/05/97 Ross' Goose; Snow Goose 20 Open NW
CO Lake Cheraw 01/03/97-01/28/97 Snow Goose; Canada Goose; Mallard; Gadwall 227 Necrotic enteritis/avian cholera suspect CO
FL Polk/Volusia Cty. 10/01/96-01/27/97 Bald Eagle 4 Toxicosis: pentobarbital NW
FL Fort Walton Beach 02/24/97-02/24/97 American Robin 4 Toxicosis: chlorpyrifos SC
GA Statesboro 09/09/96-09/09/96 Canada Goose 9 Toxicosis: organophosphorus compound SC
GA Madison 02/22/97-02/22/97 American Robin; Common Grackle; European Starling 9 Toxicosis: diazinon SC
GA Chatham Cty 03/19/97-03/19/97 41 Cedar Waxwing Toxicosis: diazinon SC
IA Iowa River 01/18/97-02/03/97 Canada Goose 35(e) Open NW
IL Grayslake 01/07/97-01/07/97 Canada Goose; Mallard 12 Lead poisoning suspect IL
KY Columbus 01/08/97-01/08/97 Snow Goose 52 Trauma: storm KY, MS
MD Elkridge 02/11/97- 03/15/97 House Sparrow 1 Avian pox SC
MO Grand Pass Wildlife Area 12/20/96-01/06/97 Unidentified Duck; Snow Goose; Canada Goose; Ross' Goose; Mallard 75 Avian cholera NW
MO Callaway County 02/18/97-ongoing House Finch; American Goldfinch 8 Conjunctivitis SC
NE Rainwater Basin WMD 02/28/97-04/01/97 Snow Goose; Canada Goose; Mallard; Northern Pintail; Ross' Goose 3428 Avian cholera NW
NV Washoe Lake; Virginia Lake 02/05/97-03/01/97 California Gull; Ring-billed Gull 160(e) Open NW
NY Newburgh 06/01/96-03/18/97 American Crow 4 Toxicosis: dieldrin NY
NC Charlotte Area 06/19/96-07/15/96 Muscovy Duck; Canada Goose; Mallard; Unidentified Passerine; Carp Fish 75(e) Open SC
SC Berkeley 01/12/96-01/17/96 Herring Gull; Ring-billed Gull; American Crow 55 Toxicosis suspect SC
SC James Island Creek 11/05/96-11/05/96 Mallard; Unidentified Duck 7 Toxicosis: diazinon & DDT SC
TX Benjamin 12/30/96-12/30/96 Canada Goose 40(e) Toxicosis: organo-phosphorus compound NW
TX Victoria County 12/23/96-01/23/97 Lesser Scaup; Gadwall; Shad Fish 200(e) Open NW
TX Brazoria NWR 01/17/97-02/11/97 Snow Goose 34 Open NW
TX Rita Blanca Lake 01/20/97-03/01/97 Canada Goose; Mallard; Northern Pintail 265(e) Avian cholera NW
TX Lubbock 02/21/97-03/01/97 Hybrid Duck; Canada Goose 38 Avian cholera NW
UT Cove Fort/Cedar City/Delta 01/13/97-01/13/97 Eared Grebe 1900(e) Trauma NW
UT Zion N.P. 02/06/97-04/01/97 Evening Grosbeak; House Finch; Pine Siskin; American Goldfinch 300(e) Salmonellosis NW
WV Scott Depot 06/03/96-06/03/96 Mallard (duckling); Mallard 10 Toxicosis: diazinon SC

(e) = estimate; * = morbidity and mortality

Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study (SC); California Department of Fish and Game - Wildlife Investigations Laboratory (CA); National Wildlife Health Center (NW); Colorado State University Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory (CO); Illinois Department of Conservation (IL); Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources (KY); Murray State University Breathitt Veterinary Center (MS); New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NY).

Written and compiled by Gregory Kidd, National Wildlife Health Center (NWHC). To report mortality or if you would like specific information on these mortalities, contact one of the following NWHC staff: Western US Kathryn Converse; Eastern US--Kimberli Miller; Hawaiian Islands--Thierry Work. Phone (608) 270-2400, FAX (608) 270-2415 or E-mail kathy_converse@usgs.gov. National Wildlife Health Center, 6006 Schroeder Road, Madison, WI

Quarterly Mortality Reports

Effective October 1, 1996, the National Wildlife Health Center ceased differentiating its mortality reports by geographic region. The mortality table accompanying this report, therefore, lists all events by state in alphabetical order.

There were 36 reports this quarter. Avian cholera was the cause of mortality at multiple sites in Nebraska and California. Waterfowl populations migrating through Nebraska's Rainwater Basin this spring peaked at 3-4 million birds. Mortality was first observed in the beginning of March, and state wildlife and U.S. Fish and Wildlife personnel collected 3,428 birds, primarily snow geese with other goose and dabbling duck species. Merced NWR, California also reported high mortality due to avian cholera this quarter. Over 4,000 waterfowl, primarily coots, died with a peak of 300-400 birds collected per day.

Salton Sea in north-central California reported low level mortality in three groups of migratory birds. About 25 white pelicans and other fish-eating birds found sick or dead on the south end of the Sea the second week of March were confirmed with botulism type C. There was concern that botulism could cause major losses of pelicans similar to the large botulism mortality event last fall. About 2,100 dead and affected eared grebes were found at the northwest end of the Sea exhibiting the same abnormal behaviors that grebes have shown in past die-offs at Salton Sea; preening excessively, coming out of the water to preen on land, and congregating at freshwater outlets to drink. The cause of this mortality and unusual behavior remains undetermined. A small group of about 20 snow and Ross' geese, were found dead in fields and on freshwater areas in February on the south end of the Sea. Avian cholera was suspected as the cause of mortality but diagnostic evaluation showed no evidence of the disease.

Southern Utah reported the deaths of 1,900 eared grebes due to trauma. Apparently, the grebes became disoriented during a snowstorm and mistook snow covered fields and streets as water and attempted to land. Over 2,700 grebes were rescued and returned to a nearby refuge. Similar events have been documented several times in the last 20 years, the most recent during the winter of 1991.

A lightning strike was diagnosed as the cause of death for 52 snow geese near Columbus, Kentucky. All of the birds examined had fractured vertebrae and extensive internal hemorrhage with no evidence of an infectious process or gunshot wounds. Murray State University reports that broken back syndrome has been documented in geese in previous lightning strike events.

Over a period of four months, four bald eagles died and five became sick after feeding on euthanized carcasses deposited in landfills in Polk and Volusia County, Florida. Analysis of stomach contents and blood samples revealed pentobarbital as the cause of the morbidity/mortality. Surviving eagles were placed under the care of the Florida Audubon Society. The responsible parties were informed on proper disposal of euthanized animals.

Over three hundred passerines died in the area of Zion National Park, Utah. Homeowners reported an estimated mortality of 3-4 birds per day at bird feeders. Salmonella sp. was isolated from several of the birds submitted for diagnostic evaluation. This marks the first documented report of significant passerine mortality due to salmonellosis in Utah. Large-scale events occurred east of the Rocky Mountains in 1993/94 and west along the Northern Pacific Coast in 1992/93.

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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