Latino State News
Bizarre Animal Deaths Reach Chicago Fish Population
In yet another bizarre dead animal story, along Chicago’s lakefront, geese and mallard ducks could be seen in the hundreds chowing down on dead or dying fish.
At least thousands of gizzard shad, members of the herring family, could been seen floating in Lake Michigan.
The high number of dead fish is believed to have been caused by the thick ice that came to Chicago early this year. Gizzard shad are more sensitive to drops in oxygen levels than other fish.
What had naturalist Joel Greenburg—author of A Natural History of the Chicago Region—stumped, however, was not the dead fish, but the Canada geese and mallards eating them, as they normally don’t eat fish, but Greenburg said, “They are opportunistic.”
So far, the gizzard shad seem to be the only species of fish dyin-off in large numbers like this in Chicago.
Lake Michigan Program biologist Dan Makauskas speculates that the young shad may not yet have built enough reserves to survive the early onslaught of extreme cold, but still said the die-off was odd.