Dozens of dead Canada geese have been found in the Des Moines River in central Iowa and many more geese in the area are ill. Kevin Baskins, spokesman for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, says tests are being done on some of the dead birds to determine what killed them.
Baskins says about 80 dead geese have been recovered and at least 20 more didn’t look well. Biologists are going, daily, to an area along the river south of Saylorville Lake in Polk County, to pick up more dead geese. He says it’s uncommon to have so many dead geese, but it happens on occasion.
Baskins says if corn is left outside a grain elevator or bin for a long time, geese will eat it and pick up a mold that can be fatal. He says it could also be a disorder called fowl cholera or even lead poisoning. Steel shot is now required for waterfowl hunting as it’s non-toxic.
In the past, he says lead shot that was in the water from hunting could be gobbled up by feeding geese. He says they also eat fishing tackle. Baskins says the results of the tests on the dead geese should be in on Friday from the National Wildlife Health Laboratory in Madison, Wisconsin.