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Stamford Fowl Increasingly Exhibiting Neurological Issues

Animal control officers suspect the birds may be suffering from lead poisoning.

Homeowners on Ocean Drive West were surprised to find a new friend their cat had made after letting it outside to play in the yard, according to Stamford Animal Care & Control Shelter Director Laurie Hollywood.

A wild turkey who decided to hang around in the yard for a couple of days. Unfortunately, the turkey apparently was sick, and animal control was contacted to come pick the animal up.

Once the homeowners noticed the fowl and realized the bird was having little reaction to the cat approaching it directly, they called Hollywood. Control took the animal to South Wilton Animal Hospital, where x-rays were performed, but came back inconclusive.

Head trauma became the leading suspected cause, as the bird continued to act strangely under the care of the facility, including the need to force-feed the animal as it wouldn't eat on its own.

Hollywood said birds showing up with neurological disorders has been a disturbing and recently-increasing trend.

A swan that was recently pulled from the waters of Cummings Park in the Shippan section of the city was also exhibiting strange behaviors and the prevailing theory in that case was lead poisoning.

Hollywood said lead poisoning would be tested in the case of the steadfast turkey as well.

She said two swans were brought to the hospital to be treated for lead poisoning recently. One believed to be recovering well passed away the day before it was set to be released. The second was still recovering but doctors believed it had been successfully rehabilitated with calcium EDTA treatment, which binds to the lead and excretes it from the body through normal waste removal.

Hollywood said a source for the recent issues is still being investigated and anytime multiple animals begin exhibiting the same symptoms from what is suspected to be the same issue, it's concerning.

"From Cove to Cummings to Shippan, we're seeing birds in particular showing up with neurological disorders and we're searching for the cause," Hollywood said. "Sometimes, it turns out a number of birds have just swallowed fishing weights made of lead, but we'll continue to investigate."

Hollywood said it was likely the shelter would be contacting DEEP for assistance with water testing in the area.

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