DELMAR, N.Y. – The Niagara River corridor from Lake Erie to Lake Ontario is renowned as a winter haven for water birds. But this year's bitterly cold season has made it notable for something else: dead ducks.
Biologists say carcasses began piling up by the hundreds in early January after consistently low temperatures started icing over nearly the entire Great Lakes, preventing the ducks from getting to the minnows that are their main source of food. Necropsies have confirmed the cause: starvation.
It's a phenomenon that has been seen elsewhere along the Great Lakes, with news reports of diving ducks and other waterfowl turning up dead by the hundreds along the southern part of Lake Michigan. They've also been found in Lake St. Clair between Lakes Erie and Huron.