WOODHAVEN (WWJ) – Weather and water levels are affecting wild birds in parts of Wayne County as well as up north.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources has diagnosed type C botulism in 50 dead mallard ducks found near Marsh Creek in Woodhaven, along with some wild waterfowl in the East Arm of Grand Traverse Bay. Approximately 20 mallards were found dead in that area.

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In a statement, DNR WDL pathologist Julie Melotti said, although this isn’t rare, they will be continue to monitor these locations as well as additional sites, for dead birds.

Botulism is a condition brought on by ingesting a naturally occurring toxin produced by bacteria found in the bottom sediments of water bodies. Officials say there is no risk to humans, although pets could ingest the toxin if they were to eat a dead bird. Local residents and visitors to  these areas are urged to keep their dogs leashed.

In addition, people are urged not to put food out for ducks and other birds in these areas because congregating birds in areas where botulism has been found may cause more birds to pick up the bacteria and become sick.

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If you see a dead bird, you’re asked to use rubber gloves to throw it away. Or just call the DNR and they’ll take care of the rest.

“It’s important for us to stop the cycle of botulism once it starts,” said Melotti. “Any dead birds that are on the shoreline need to be picked up and disposed of properly. We don’t want other animals feeding on the carcasses.”

Dead birds can be disposed of in normal garbage pickup destined for a landfill or buried deeply enough that they can’t be easily dug up.

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Any dead or dying birds that are found along the south shore of Grand Traverse Bay should be reported to the Traverse City DNR office at 231-922-5280. Any dead or dying birds that are found in Wayne County should be reported to the Pointe Mouillee State Game Area headquarters at 734-379-9692.