USDA sends superheroes on ATVs to investigate Eider die-off!

25 11 2009


USDA Wildlife Biologists came fully prepared for their mission on Cape Cod.

Wildlife disease biologist Randy Mickley and his boss, Monte Chandler, both with the USDA’s Wildlife Services Program, boldly ventured to remote Jeremy Point in Wellfleet, Massachusetts last week. Their mission: collect Common Eiders from the recent Cape Cod die-off for submission to the National Wildlife Health Center in Madison, Wisconsin.


These intrepid adventurers came fully equipped with ATVs and very large nets. Using stealth and wiles, they managed to collect two freshly dead birds and one nearly dead bird.

Monte Chandler stalks an eider. Moments later, he plunged into the ocean in pursuit of the elusive bird.

These carcasses will be invaluable in the National Wildlife Health Center’s disease investigation, and SEANET is hopeful we may get a bit closer to an answer on these recurrent die-offs.


As if the brave actions of theses two men last Wednesday were not enough, Randy returned on Friday to join SEANET’s new intern, Michelle Stantial of Massachusetts Audubon, on a carcass tagging adventure. The two worked in the rain, marking 200 carcasses before they exhausted their supply of cable ties. SEANET is excited to have reliable carcass counts at last, and is also interested in seeing if any of the marked carcasses ever make their way down to other SEANET beaches in the area.



3 responses

25 11 2009
Jenette Kerr

Interesting that USDA is involved –Have they investigated Cape Cod (or other)eider die-offs before?

2 12 2009
andrea bogomolni

you got birds!! I so want to hear what the report back will be! um… but ATVs?? The skiff rides were so much stealthier though ;)…

18 03 2010
Joann Lindenmayer

Monte is the man.

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