EMPIRE, Mich. (AP) — Volunteers and biologists say they've found about 300 dead or dying loons over the past few days at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.
The Detroit Free Press reports (http://on.freep.com/RIxU9s ) the birds in the northern Lower Peninsula are believed to have been killed by botulism. Dan Ray, a biologist in charge of a project monitoring botulism among fish-eating birds at the park, says it appears to be among the worst seasons for the loons.
The newspaper says recent strong southwest and northwest winds explain why the dead loons are coming ashore, possibly from many miles into Lake Michigan.
Avian botulism has been blamed in the deaths of many shorebirds in the Great Lakes region. Scientists believe toxins accumulate in the fatty tissues of the round goby, a fish many birds eat.
Information from: Detroit Free Press, http://www.freep.com