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Botulism Bacteria Blamed for Deaths of Waterbirds on Lake Ontario

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Last year, I wrote about finding the carcasses of dead loons and cormorants on the shores of a Northern Lake Michigan beach. Now officials in New York are reporting similar waterbird deaths from Type E botulism on Lake Ontario.

Sadly, finding type E botulism in waterbirds is becoming an “annual event in one or more of the Great Lakes,” according to a press release by New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). A die-off involving this many loons has not been seen on Lake Ontario since 2006.

Reports from the public and field investigations by DEC crews indicate that at least 200-300 common loons have washed ashore along Jefferson and northern Oswego County shorelines, according to the DEC statement.

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