botulism | Michigan Radio
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botulism

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

 

 

Today on Stateside, a Republican proposal to fix Michigan’s roads is circulating in Lansing that wouldn't raise taxes. Plus a look at avian botulism, a disease that’s killing waterfowl across the Great Lakes.

A flooded beach near Lake Michigan.
Kaye LaFond / Michigan Radio

The last major outbreak of avian botulism on Lake Michigan was in 2016, when hundreds of dead birds washed up on shore. The bacterial disease has affected waterfowl like loons and mergansers in the Great Lakes for decades. But high water levels on the lakes are good news for the birds, at least temporarily.

Steve Maslowski/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Imagine walking down a picturesque beach along Lake Michigan, and stumbling upon the carcasses of dead birds. That’s a very real and unpleasant problem along Lakes Michigan, Huron, Ontario and Erie. (It’s not as big of an issue in Lake Superior because of the lake’s colder water temperatures.)

Loons and other deep-diving birds are suffering from a disease called avian botulism. It’s form of food poisoning that kills wild birds in the Great Lakes ecosystem.

User: Brother O'Mara / flickr

House to take up controversial land line bill this week

"The state House this week is expected to take up a controversial telecommunications bill that passed the state Senate last week. The bill would let AT&T end traditional landline phone service - as long as there is internet phone service that can take its place," Tracy Samilton reports.

Fifth Heidelberg House set aflame

An eighth suspected arson in a little more than seven months burnt a fifth house at Detroit's Heidelberg Project Sunday night. The "Clock House" was part of the outdoor art installation make from blighted and abandoned structures.

Scientists to investigate why so many Great Lakes birds are dying

"Scientists are stepping up efforts to learn where and how many Great Lakes water birds are getting fatal food poisoning. The U.S. Geological Survey says around 100,000 may have died since 2000 from Type E botulism. Their bodies have littered beaches," the Associated Press reports.

Michigan Loon Watch

DETROIT (AP) - An increase in annual loon deaths from a strain of botulism is sounding alarms among Michigan wildlife officials.

The Detroit News reports that it's been common over the years for common loon deaths to hit the hundreds but the numbers reached several thousand in in 2010 and 2012. Experts say invasive species such as mussels and gobies, and algae called Cladophora may be factors.

Commentary: Campaign for the birds

Oct 18, 2012

During the presidential debate the other night I joked that Mitt Romney seems to have a problem with birds. The only memorable moment from the first debate was when he famously brought up Sesame Street’s Big Bird. Legends take on a life of their own, and most people now seem to think the candidate said he was going to “fire” Big Bird. In fact, what Romney really said was that he was, quote “Gonna stop the subsidy to PBS,” something he said he was sorry about because, as he put it, “I like Big Bird.“