Botulism suspected in deaths of birds along Lake Michigan

Lake Michigan at Sleeping Bear Dunes. (2011 file)
Lake Michigan at Sleeping Bear Dunes. (2011 file)

LELAND, Mich. (AP) — Officials say botulism is suspected in the deaths of hundreds of birds recently along Lake Michigan.

Dan Ray, botulism monitoring project lead for Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, counted a large number of dead birds last week. The Traverse City Record-Eagle reports he joined a team of volunteers Saturday in burying 250 birds at Good Harbor Bay Beach.

Ray says the birds “almost certainly” died of type E botulism. He expects to see more dead birds on Lake Michigan’s shoreline through November.

Typically, type E botulism occurs in fish-eating birds in the open waters of the Great Lakes.

The nonprofit conservation group Common Coast says the bird deaths extended at least 10 miles up the Leelanau Peninsula and past Leland.

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Online:

National Parks Service: What to do if you find a sick bird

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Information from: Traverse City Record-Eagle