Possible Outbreak of Avian Botulism in Northern Michigan

Birds are dropping dead along a Northern Michigan shoreline near the Sleeping Bear Dunes, worrying local biologists. Biologists say they've also found hundreds of dead goby fish, which are believed to carry the botulism toxin. Over the years, hundreds of birds have died along the Michigan shoreline after contracting Avian Botulism. Just last July, forty dead seagulls were found near the dunes. Biologists say, this year, the combination of dead birds, dead fish, and a warm spring creates a cause for concern. Biologists want people to know it's still safe to be on the beaches and in the water. But people should be aware of this bird die-off and the possibility of an Avian Botulism outbreak. The test results from the dead birds should be back from the lab by next week. Biologists at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Shoreline are looking for volunteers to help monitor the beaches. Informational meetings for prospective volunteers will be held Friday, June 18 and Wednesday, June 23 from 2-4pm at the National Lakeshore's Visitor Center in Empire. If you are interested in volunteering and attending a meeting, please contact Park Ranger Emily Tyner at (231) 334-7685. 9&10's Alex Jokich and photojournalist Joel Deaner spoke with experts about the possible dangers of Avian Botulism and have a full report.

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