What’s happening to the ducks? It’s a mystery at a Broward County condo

Miami Herald File

Domenico Capurso wants to know what’s killing the Muscovy ducks at his Dania Beach condo complex.

“It’s a very cruel death whether it was foul play or not,” he said.

There’s been at least half a dozen found dead in the past week.

“I’ve been here 15 years and I never seen, once in a blue moon a duck dies, but never like this, six or seven, never,” he said.

Another duck at the complex is showing signs of sickness, too.

Capurso initially thought there was foul play, but wildlife experts say it could be something else.

“That could be either botulism, which is a toxin from a bacterium in the soil,” said Dr. Charlotte Cournoyer from the South Florida Wildlife Center. “The other thing we’re really concerned about right now is highly pathogenic avian influenza.”

She is especially worried about avian influenza.

“We’ve seen at least 50 Muscovy ducks come in with these symptoms in the last month. And a lot of times people bring us the sick duck, but there were more dead ducks back at the pond.”

State wildlife officials are monitoring avian flu cases. It’s shown up all over the state, including here in Broward and Miami-Dade.

Humans are feeling the impact, too. While there are rare cases of spread to people, this is also a pocketbook issue at the grocery store.

“In 2022 alone, 50 million birds in the poultry industry have been affected by this virus. It is 90-100% fatal so it has huge economic impacts as well as a threat to our native wildlife,” Cournoyer said.

Wildlife officials say if you come in contact with a sick or dead bird, do not touch it.