BARRIE, ONT. –
After hundreds of dead birds were found motionless, a majority dead, along the waters of Georgian Bay, there was a happy ending for one of these birds on Sunday, thanks to a local rescue group from ‘animals.
Des Barnes is a retired fisherman who works with Shades of Hope Wildlife Refuge. He and his team took action earlier this month after a concerned resident of Tiny Township called them to help them with one of the birds.
“This seagull here is just one of the unfortunate candidates who have been affected by the botulism epidemic that has occurred in Georgian Bay, that is, between Tiny Township, Wasaga Beach and Collingwood,” Barnes told CTV News.
Fast-spreading botulism bacteria poisoned the birds. It accumulates in zebra mussels and rounded gobies, which are often eaten by fish and then spread to birds.
Barnes says the outbreak, primarily in Tiny Township and the Wasaga Beach area, is hopefully at an end. However, he says it seems to be spreading in Collingwood and implores all passers-by to ask Shades of Hope for help.
“These are the ones that come ashore or the ones that are in the water, and they only use their wings for mobility, are the ones we can save. So what we need from you is to secure. the bird, even if it’s putting a basket on top of a bird until we can find someone to save it, âsays Barnes.
The group affectionately named the bird released today Woody. For the past 10 days, the bird has been tube-fed with saline and dextrose to flush its system.
Rescue missions like this are essential for the environment, says master naturalist Bob Bowles.
âIt’s really a community effort because the government organizations, the people who are set up to watch the birds and anything that can’t be all in one place, so it’s the community members and their efforts that really move that forward and help the birds, âBowles says.
For more information on how to contact Shades of Hope, click here.