21 dead geese found along Northeast Kingdom lake

Published: Nov. 30, 2022 at 11:18 PM EST
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BARTON, Vt. (WCAX) - Wildlife experts are investigating what happened to a flock of geese in the Northeast Kingdom after 21 were found dead at Crystal Lake State Park in Barton last week.

Josh Degreenia and his friend, Larry Allard, were there with metal detectors, looking for coins or maybe a gold ring. They say the shore was lined with bird cadavers.

“I’m 35 years old and I’ve never seen anything like this in Vermont,” Degreenia said. “There was one that was still alive, but it wasn’t moving,” Allard said. “It just had its head up, so you knew something had happened.”

David Sausville with Vermont Fish and Wildlife says they’ve never had anything like this happen among the Canadian goose population in Vermont, though, he says there was a similar situation in New Hampshire this spring where roughly 30 geese died from the avian flu.

“We sent samples, just yesterday, to the national lab in Wisconsin,” Sausville said. He says the results from the samples won’t be available for another week or two. At this point, there’s no way to know what caused this for sure but he does have his suspicions. “They anticipate it’ll be avian influenza or aspergillosis or something like that.”

But whatever it is, Degreenia and Allard say they hope to never see it again. “I mean, I’ve never seen it before and I hope they solve the problem because no one should ever have to see any of any animal die and suffer in that way,” Degreenia said.

“Watching the geese fly over in the fall is one of my favorite things and I hope nothing is going to happen, because I’d like to continue seeing them,” Allard added.

Sausville says it’s unlikely avian diseases get transmitted to people, but it’s still possible. He says to avoid touching any type of dead bird and practice basic hygiene.