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‘New duck disease' to blame for the deaths of at least 100 geese in the Denver metro area, CPW says

Icy weather causing a domino effect
Posted at 6:41 PM, Mar 08, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-09 01:19:17-05

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DENVER -- Viewers reached out to Contact7 after finding several dead geese across Denver metro area parks, so we went looking for answers as to why they're dying and what's being done about it.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife officials say this winter has seen huge flocks of geese congregating at parks, and at least 100 have been found dead in the past few weeks.

"About mid-January is when it first started popping up," said Jason Clay, with Colorado Parks and Wildlife. "Mainly in the Denver metro area, is where we've seen it. It's kind of been restricted to Arapahoe, Jefferson, and Denver counties."

Clay said this time of year flocks of Canada geese are joining their Colorado neighbors and the recent icy weather, which has frozen many ponds and lakes, leaves less room for birds to move around freely.

Ducks and geese are banding together at places like Cheesman Park and City Park, and transmitting a bacteria known as "new duck disease."

"When those flocks congregate together, it makes for a good environment of spreading disease," said Clay. "What we're finding is the waterfowl are dying off because of a bacterial infection."

Contact7 found a dead goose frozen in the ice at City Park. Lewis Lamm saw another casualty while walking his dog.

"I just saw a dead geese over there," said Lamm. "I just thought some predator got it. I had no idea there's some sort of disease going around."

Clay says "new duck" disease is cyclical, and not connected to the more severe avian flu. Humans and pets are safe, but people should still use caution.

"What we're recommending is definitely not for humans to pick up any carcasses, definitely keep your pets away," he said.

Meanwhile, Stephen Beren is hoping "new duck" will fly off into the sunset.

"The geese are a big part of the park, and to have something like that going around is kind of sad," he said.