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Avian botulism is caused by the soil bacterium, Clostridium botulinum, and causes paralysis and death in birds. Two types of botulism have been found in birds: Type C, which occurs during warmer months across the U.S., and Type E, which is found primarily in the Great Lakes in the U.S.

Birds can become infected with botulism after ingesting decaying organic matter or live invertebrates that have been infected with the toxin.

USGS scientists are studying avian botulism on microscopic and geographic scales to answer questions about how the botulism toxin spreads through the food chain, how botulism can be controlled, and where botulism outbreaks may occur next.


Migration Data 

Common Loon Migration Study

Distribution and foraging patterns of common loons on Lake Michigan with implications for exposure to type E avian botulism: Data

Avian Botulism qPCR data, Leelanau Peninsula, Michigan. Years 2011-2014

Environmental conditions synchronize waterbird mortality events in the Great Lakes: Data