Here’s a Heads Up:
Avian Botulism and Dead Birds
in Denver Parks
On the afternoon of July 27 I met with Mara Fielding-Purdy of Denver Department of Parks and Recreation, Natural Areas Program at Denver’s Garland Park to review an effort aimed at reducing the impact of avian botulism in Denver’s park lakes. Lollipop Lake at Garland is one of the lakes where dead ducks have been found in the past – this site has since been clear of dead or sick waterfowl and needs continued monitoring to ensure the cycle is broken. Of particular concern are Ferrill Lake and Duck Lake in City Park which have more serious outbreaks and are the focus of parks and volunteer efforts. Smith, Grasmere Lakes and Lily pond at Washington Park are also of concern.
Duck Lake in City Park, though recently drained has experienced considerable impact from avian botulism. The week of July 23-27 about a dozen dead birds have been found on the island in Duck Lake beneath the Cormorant rookery and on the shores of both Duck and Ferrill lakes. Duck Lake in City Park has been a source of avian botulism for many years. The recent outbreak is made worse by the high temperatures for the past month or so.
Denver Parks staff are particularly concerned about the potential spread of the infection to other lakes in the park system. The major outbreak in 2011 included the finding of dead birds at Smith Lake in Washington Park. This year the deaths had been at Duck and Ferrill Lakes in City Park along with Lollipop Lake in Garland Park. However, Park officials are concerned about the infection spreading to other lakes, particularly those in Washington Park and where dead waterfowl were found the past 2 years.
Sick birds can be rehabilitated at a rehab center to reduce the loss of birds. Mara Fielding-Purdy and the park folks are asking for volunteers to survey the lakes in Washington Park and Garland Park on a regular (daily) basis. This surveillance is a simple matter – walk the perimeter of the lakes looking for sick or dead birds. The affected birds will most likely be water fowl. Should you locate a dead bird you should call 311 to report the bird, you can also contact park personnel or a park ranger at the Ranger Hotline: 303-331-4050.
Please join us in this effort to improve our parks and lakes and the enjoyment we get from visiting them.
Denver Parks and Recreation has a statement about this problem at this web site: Water Quality Program, Avian Botulism
University Park Neighborhood,