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Sick birds found in second retention pond in Winnipeg

One of three pelicans that lived after being rescued by The Wildlife Haven Rehabilitation Center.
One of three pelicans that lived after being rescued by The Wildlife Haven Rehabilitation Center. Facebook / The Wildlife Haven Rehabilitation Centre

The mystery of birds turning up sick or dead in a Winnipeg retention pond has spread a few blocks north.

The Wildlife Haven Rehabilitation Centre learned last month that birds were getting sick at the Sante Fe Park pond, with at least a dozen birds dying.

Now, the non-profit has taken in a handful of birds who fell ill at a retention pond on Lakebourne Drive, just over two kilometres away.

Wildlife Haven executive director Zoe Nakata told Global News they learned about this second pond Thursday, and have since taken in 10 more birds from the two ponds.

“We’re seeing the same type of symptoms, same look of the water, so we’ve alerted the authorities and they’re now doing testing on the second pond,” Nakata explained.

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“We’re monitoring it and bringing in any sick birds as we find them because we’ve seen that the sooner we can treat them, the better their chance of survival is.”

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READ MORE: Single pelican recovering but 12 more birds dead after retention pond rescue

As for why the birds are turning up sick, that remains a mystery.

“We know that the dry summer has something to do with it, but we’re still waiting to hear back from the city and province for what exactly is in the water. We’re hopeful that it will come out this week,” Nakata said.

“I know some people have thrown out it’s botulism, maybe it’s blue-green algae. At this point, we’re not leaning one way or the other. Maybe it’s something completely different.”

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According to Nakata, the ten birds they recently took in are doing well. The WHRC also has volunteers heading to the two ponds every day to check if any more sick birds have turned up.