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Death of 150 ducks behind plans to drain Redwood City pond

The recent death of about 150 wild ducks from an apparent outbreak of avian cholera is behind plans to drain a bird-watching pond at 1400 Radio Road in Redwood City, according to the South Bayside System Authority, a waste-water treatment agency.

"Please note that this does not pose a threat to humans, but can cause death to waterfowl, gulls and other species," Melisa Amato, a wildlife specialist for the Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge, said in a prepared statement.

The U.S. Fish & Wildlife service confirmed a recent outbreak of avian cholera in Hayward and suspects the disease has spread west to Redwood City. The deaths at the Radio Road pond occurred between Jan. 3 and 9.

Ms. Amato is asking the public to report die-offs of more than 10 birds to Cheryl Strong or Rachel Tertes of the Fish & Wildlife service. Reports by the public are particularly important "if these birds appear to be fresh and have no obvious signs of death," Ms. Amato said.

Send email to cheryl_strong@fws.gov or rachel_tertes@fws.gov.

Recycled fresh water from the nearby treatment facility feeds and freshens the water in the Radio Road pond, according to the waste-water authority.

The pond "is a perpetual favorite among local birders for its fabulous numbers of waterfowl and shorebirds, and the constant hope, often fulfilled, of rarities," according to the website of the Sequoia Audubon Society. "It is not uncommon to see over 10,000 birds from the security of your car, all close enough to be identified with binoculars (although a scope is a spectacular asset at this location)."

Dave Boyce

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