Colorado Parks and Wildlife asks that you don’t handle dead waterfowl, but report it for removal instead.
Ducks and geese death reports are on the rise in the Denver metro area. Colorado Parks and Wildlife said that it has seen an uptick in waterfowl deaths recently, and necropsies of the birds in question luckily ruled out avian influenza viruses and Newcastle disease, but did identify the culprit: a bacterial infection caused by Riemerella anatipestifer, otherwise known as “new duck disease.”
It’s not great news for the large flocks of ducks and geese that call the Denver area home throughout the year. Geese especially have been flocking to Denver in droves over the last several years, making most parks, open water sources, and sports fields home sweet home.
According to CPR.org, each winter an average of 180,000 geese descend on our state, not including those that live here year-round.
“The Denver metro area is home to large populations of resident Canada Geese year round. In addition, large migratory flocks of geese make temporary residence in the Denver area during the winter months. These large, congregated flocks create ideal conditions for various illnesses to travel among their populations,” said CPW in a statement.
Some of the symptoms of new duck disease in waterfowl include weakness, tucked-in head, neck tremor, and incoordination, among others. It is spread through bird-to-bird direct contact, toenail scratches, and common water/feed sources that the birds tend to congregate around. While it is generally found in waterfowl, it can also cause disease in chickens, turkeys, game birds, and more.
If you see a dead, sick, or strange-acting waterfowl, it’s best to just leave it be and report its location.
“If the public observes dead waterfowl, you can report it to the local park/managing entity for removal. Do not make contact with dead or sick waterfowl and do not allow your pets to have interactions with them,” CPW requests.
If you have questions or concerns, you can contact the CPW Northeast region service center at 303-291-7227.