No pictures, but yesterday I witnessed Tony (the Duck Man) moving a large duck corpse into the open River water, trying to get it to sink. I asked him what was happening. He told me that there’s been a massive die-off of muscovy ducks, mallards, geese and drakes in the last week in the Atwater area of the Glendale Narrows, between the Sunnynook footbridge and the Los Feliz bridge.
Tony said the muscovy population has dropped over a few days from around 40 to around a dozen. The drakes are almost gone. There are only 7-8 geese left. The mallard hens are mostly gone, and we’re not seeing any baby ducks, which is extremely unusual. He said this happened once before, in 2001 or 2002. What’s happening now, he says, is avian botulism. Maggots eat the duck corpses, and then the surviving ducks eat the maggots, catch the virus and die.
The plague can be stopped if the corpses can be disposed of in time — that is, removed from the River and burned or buried, or sunk in the water.
Tony says his phone calls and letters to local government authorities and agency officials pleading for monitoring of the situation and prompt corpse disposal have gone unanswered. So, he’s doing what he can, himself. But he can’t be down there all the time, and the situation is made worse by the high heat…