UPDATE: Geese in Coralville Died Of Vitamin Deficiency and the Cold
UPDATE: Wildlife officials say that more than 100 geese in Eastern Iowa died due to a lack of food and extreme winter conditions. KCRG reports that wildlife officials did tests on some of the geese, and it showed that the birds were suffering from a B1 deficiency. That is because they were eating a freshwater fish called shad. They were easy picking near the damn on the Iowa River in Coralville.
Shad don't have much B1, so the birds developed a deficiency in B1 which can lead to impaired brain function and sometimes death. Combine that with the extreme cold temperatures at the time, and these birds were having a pretty rough go of it.
KCRG reports that around 80 geese are still in rehab facilities across Iowa.
KCRG reports that the Iowa Department of Natural Resources is currently investigating reports of sick and dead geese near the dam of the Iowa River in Coralville. Local volunteers and a wildlife organization from Des Moines recently discovered the nearly 50 dead geese and recovered around 50 more that were sick.
Jessica Darby from West Branch, told KCRG last Thursday that she and Brandon Caswell both discovered sick and dead geese on the ice surrounding the dam in the Iowa River next to the Iowa Power River Restaurant. Darby told KCRG that the symptoms the geese were suffering from included the inability to fly and seizures. On Friday, Darby and Caswell gathered up around one dozen of the sick geese and transported them to Grinnell to meet with members of Iowa Bird Rehabilitation, a Des Moines based group that works with and rehabilitates injured birds.
Officials with Iowa Bird Rehabilitation told KCRG that the geese appear to be suffering from some sort of neurological disorder, but it is unclear what is causing the symptoms. DNR officials did confirm to KCRG that they had taken samples of ducks and geese and sent them to Ames to be tested.
Meanwhile, the DNR, while grateful for the public support and help, is now warning residents about interacting with the sick birds. The State Wildlife Vet for the DNR told KCRG that they "urge the public to use caution around sick or dead wildlife as the cause of the event is yet unknown."