Researchers battle bird botulism

Capital News Service

LANSING — Two researchers are monitoring the Lake Michigan coast where dead birds have washed up. Dan Ray of the National Park Service and Jeanie Williams of the Inland Seas Education Association walk a beach in Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore littered with about two dozen dead birds including scoters, loons and ducks. Researchers say the birds are dying because of a toxin called avian botulism, which can form on the lake bed under certain conditions. Standing over a dead duck, Ray describes what he sees, and the procedure that follows. “So we have a long-tailed duck, and we’re going to pick that up away from the shoreline, take it up into the foredune,” Ray says.