Hundreds of ducks are being found dead along Lake Erie and Lake Ontario, and the state Department of Environmental Conversation says extensive ice coverage is to blame.
The ducks have been found along the Lake Ontario shoreline, the Niagara River, in the open waters of Lake Erie, and Dunkirk Harbor. Conservationists say the fish eating birds found dead are emaciated and lack water-proofing, which is often a side effect of starvation.
Biologists believe the extensive ice coverage on the lakes has forced wintering waterfowl to concentrate in the limited remaining open water. That, in turn, reduces the food for all and, along with severe cold, is killing off the undernourished birds.
Though the mortality rate is difficult to estimate, the DEC categorized it as "extensive."