While McCall fish management crews were conducting their annual fall fish survey of Cascade Reservoir, a banded common loon was found entangled in one of the nets. The leg band number revealed this bird was banded at Walker Lake, Nev. (east of Reno) in 2000 as an adult (at least 3 years old). This meant the loon was 21 years old this fall!
The bird was released unharmed. The oldest recorded loon is 25 years old. Loons are usually observed on Lake Cascade in the spring and fall as they stop on their migrations North and South.
Health Issues Which May Affect This Animal
What Causes This Disease?Avian botulism is caused by the ingestion of a toxin produced by the bacteria, Clostridium botulinum type C. Avian botulism outbreaks are most common in August, September, and October throughout North America when conditions are favorable for bacterial growth.
Where Is The Disease Found?The bacteria that cause botulism is found throughout North America, except Alaska. It has been documented in many species of waterfowl in Idaho.
Signs of DiseaseToxins produced by C. botulinum cause paralysis in birds which is often referred as “limber neck”. Paralysis usually starts in the legs and wings, then progresses to the neck, making it difficult for birds to hold up their heads. Since the birds can’t hold up their heads, the most common cause of death from botulism is drowning. Birds that do not drown usually eventually die of respiratory failure.
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