SCDNR releases necropsy results from birds found dead in North Myrtle Beach

Grand Strand

NORTH MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW) – The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources has released necropsy results from birds that were found dead in North Myrtle Beach.

The necropsies were completed on December 18, 2018 at the University of Georgia’s College of Veterinary Medicine, according to the report, which is dated April 26, 2019.

The bodies of seven birds were submitted by SCDNR and received by the college on December 17, 2018. These included a juvenile male Herring gull, a juvenile female Common eider, a juvenile male brown pelican, an adult male Northern gannet, two adult male Laughing gulls, and an adult female Laughing gull.

More than 30 birds of different species, including adult and juvenile birds, were found dead, or dying, on beaches in North Myrtle Beach over a period of two days, the report’s case history said.

A toxicology screening test was completed for the seven birds submitted to the college by SCDNR, which “yielded no significant results,” according to the report. Low levels of brevetoxin were detected in three of the birds, but the report said “this is suspected to be incidental and not to be the cause of this mortality event.”

“Numerous toxins and infectious agents were ruled out as the cause of this multi-species outbreak,” the report also said. “Numerous birds had evidence of varied bacterial infections (but not consistently among the birds), suggesting weakened immune systems.”

The full necropsy report can be read here.

In December, the City of North Myrtle Beach spoke out to dispel rumors on social media about “hundreds” or “dozens” of birds found dead on the shore. 

According to the city, three birds, including two pelicans, were found dead in one location and several others were found in another. Social media discussions stating that “hundreds” of birds and “dozens” of birds were found on the beach are not correct.

An SCDNR representative told the city that he found 30 dead birds on the beaches on December 15. On December 16, 10 more birds were found dead by a member of the city’s beach patrol. 

Some on social media suggested that the bird deaths are directly related to a diesel spill emanating from the beach renourishment dredge vessel located off shore. The city said there has been no confirmation of any fuel spill or that the deaths are due to a fuel spill. 

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