Thousands of mallards die; traced to eating moldy grain

  • Updated: February 9, 2011 - 11:57 AM
hide

As many as 7,000 mallards have died in a small pond near Pierre, S.D., apparently from an infection stemming from eating moldy grain. The birds were found Jan. 30. The pond is kept open by a well “with no obvious way to shut it off,’’ one wildlife official said.

Photo: S.D. Game Fish and Parks Department, Star Tribune

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

As many as 7,000 mallards have died in a small pond near Pierre, S.D., the apparent result of the birds ingesting moldy grain from a feedlot.

The congregation of mallards had remained in South Dakota despite severe cold and snow this winter, gathering in a small pond, apparently kept open by an artesian well.

The well can't be easily shut off, according to a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service memo.

The fear at first was that the birds died of cholera. Instead, toxicology reports indicate a fungal infection as the cause, likely caused by the moldy grain.

The service was concerned that an eagle die-off might also occur in the area because the big birds -- hundreds had been wintering there -- were seen feasting on the dead ducks.

The die-off was in western Sully County, not far from Lake Oahe.

A Fish and Wildlife Service crew, along with workers from the South Dakota Game Fish and Parks Department, recovered the birds, placed them 20 to a bag and double-bagged them before loading them onto flat-bed trailers.

A sample of the birds was sent to a national wildlife laboratory, which determined the cause of infection and death.

The mallard die-off is one of the largest of its kind that wildlife officials can recall. Hearty birds, many mallards will stay north in winter, almost no matter the weather, if they have food and open water.

DENNIS ANDERSON

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

Click here to send us your hunting or fishing photos – and to see what others are showing off from around the region.

ADVERTISEMENT

Cleveland - LP: T. Bauer 1 FINAL
Minnesota - WP: A. Swarzak 3
Cincinnati - LP: M. Leake 1 FINAL
Milwaukee - WP: K. Lohse 5
Kansas City - WP: W. Davis 2 FINAL
Chicago WSox - LP: Z. Putnam 1
Washington - LP: S. Strasburg 4 FINAL
Colorado - WP: J. De La Rosa 6
NY Mets - WP: B. Colon 3 FINAL
Seattle - LP: T. Walker 2
Detroit - WP: A. Sanchez 11 FINAL
Arizona - LP: T. Cahill 5
Los Angeles - LP: D. Haren 1 FINAL
Pittsburgh - WP: F. Liriano 6
San Francisco - WP: M. Bumgarner 3 FINAL
Philadelphia - LP: J. Papelbon 1
Texas - LP: Y. Darvish 1 FINAL
NY Yankees - WP: D. Phelps 2
Boston - LP: C. Buchholz 4 FINAL
Toronto - WP: R. Dickey 6
Miami - LP: N. Eovaldi 1 FINAL
Atlanta - WP: E. Santana 6
Tampa Bay - WP: A. Cobb 3 FINAL
St. Louis - LP: L. Lynn 0
San Diego - WP: I. Kennedy 8 FINAL
Chicago Cubs - LP: T. Wada 3
Houston - LP: B. Peacock 7 FINAL
Oakland - WP: J. Chavez 9
Baltimore - LP: T. Hunter 2 FINAL
LA Angels - WP: J. Weaver 3
Chicago 1 FINAL
San Jose 5
Calgary 8:00 PM
Edmonton
Winnipeg 7/25/14 9:00 PM
Brt Columbia
Ottawa 7/26/14 6:00 PM
Hamilton
Toronto 7/26/14 9:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Winnipeg 7/31/14 6:00 PM
Hamilton
Toronto 8/1/14 6:00 PM
Montreal
Brt Columbia 8/1/14 9:00 PM
Calgary
Saskatchewan 8/2/14 6:00 PM
Ottawa
Connecticut 75 FINAL
Washington 89
New York 66 FINAL
Los Angeles 64
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Should the lake where the albino muskie was caught remain a mystery?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close