Dead seagulls have shown up on the shores of the Ottawa River
Residents walking along the Ottawa River this week were alarmed to discover dead and dying seagulls, in what appears to be the second rash of animal deaths cropping up on the shores of the Ottawa River this month.
Igor Bouga, an Ottawa resident, said he had only walked about 300 metres down the shore when he saw seven dead seagulls and “one small duck” lying by the water’s edge.
He was near Ottawa’s water filtration plant, in an area that he walks through frequently.
“It’s unusual,” he said. “I’ve never seen so many.”
There were living seagulls in the area, but many of them seemed to be moving slowly, possibly ill. Even when residents and a CTV News Ottawa camera crew moved close to the weakened seagulls, they did not spook and attempt to fly away, appearing too weak to do so. Video of the seagulls shows them hunkering close to the ground.
Only a few weeks earlier, hundreds of fish washed up dead in the east end of the Ottawa River. They are currently thought to have died in the Du Lievre River in western Quebec before flowing downstream and being discovered in the Ottawa River.
The two incidents are too geographically far away from each other to be related, according to Patrick Nadeau, the executive director of watershed protection group Ottawa Riverkeeper.
“It’s still a developing story, but what we can say with high confidence is that this event is unrelated to the fish kill events,” he said.
They are still waiting on tests from the fish to determine what exactly led to their deaths, he said. It’s believed that a lack of oxygen is a key factor in why they died, but what could have caused that lack is not yet known.
In the case of the seagulls, there are no guesses yet.
Nicky Florent, speaking to CTV News Ottawa as her dog Cooper gamboled in the shallows of the river, expressed her concerns about continuing to walk in the area while the mystery remains unsolved.
“(Cooper) needs to come out,” she said,” and we need to find a new swimming hole for him.”