Lake Michigan bird carcasses make waves in botulism research.

Capital News Service
LANSING — Using satellites to follow dead birds drifting on Lake Michigan may hold the key to locating the source of the elusive botulinum toxin, which causes paralysis and death in birds. To track down where waterbirds might be exposed to the toxin, a recent study developed a model of how loon carcasses drift using an approach similar to that of search-and-rescue operations, said Jennifer Chipault, a wildlife biologist for the U.S. Geological Survey National Wildlife Health Center. The idea stems from previous evidence that loons – the most plentiful victims of avian botulism – feed as deep as 250 feet. That suggests the birds may be contracting the toxin further offshore than originally thought. The impact of the disease can be massive.

Debate continues on how to get the lead out – of ammo

Capital News Service
LANSING – Hunting is killing Michigan wildlife – and not just in the way you think. It’s because a toxic metal – lead – has been a hunting staple for centuries. Despite being removed from products like paint, gasoline and pesticides, lead remains popular for shot and bullets due to its malleability and tendency to fracture, making for bigger wound tracks and faster kills. That fracturing has its downsides, however. Lead fragments in gut piles – left behind when hunters lighten the load to carry their kill out of the woods – can put wildlife at risk of ingesting remnants of the toxin, according to the U.S. Geological Survey National Wildlife Health Center in Wisconsin.