State testing dead gulls found around Benton Township


The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is investigating a large number of dead gulls that have been seen along Napier Avenue and Pipestone Road in Benton Township this week.

We’ve received multiple calls from drivers who spotted the dead birds in the road near the Orchards Mall, so we reached out to Berrien County Health Officer Guy Miller. He tells us with the H5N1 avian flu being found in poultry flocks around Michigan this year, the dead gulls come at an ominous time. However, he suspects something else is killing the gulls.

Miller says the DNR and the health department looked into a similar situation about two years ago.

“It was a similar weather condition following a storm and we noticed dead seagulls around the Orchard Small area,” Miller said. “We did investigate that last year as well, and their cause of death was determined to to be malnourishment and dehydration.”

Miller says the dead gulls could be a result of the heat, poor nutrition for the birds, and overpopulation in the Orchards Mall area.

A quick drive through the mall parking lot did reveal a whole lot of both live and dead gulls. Miller says if they were being killed by avian flu, it would have moved through their flock quickly.

“We’ve seen it in a few locations in Michigan, nothing in Berrien County yet. So to be sure, we do want to make sure that these birds get tested for H5N1 as well.”

Besides, Miller says H5N1 avian flu has not been found in Berrien County this year.

The DNR is testing the dead gulls now and will determine if they were killed by disease, poison, or some other cause.

Meanwhile, the Berrien County Road Department tells us although it does remove dead animals from roadways, it generally doesn’t remove anything smaller than a deer due to complex rules for disposing of such materials. However, everything is on a case by case basis.


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