As the drought continues, a new disease could soon affect the ducks in the ponds of your local parks.

"The disease that we see is avian botulism," Krysta Rogers, an environmental scientist for the California Department of Fish & Wildlife said. 

Rogers says people in Sacramento neighborhoods may soon see a lot of sick ducks.

"So, what the drought does, is there's just fewer places that have water and so the ducks are going to be concentrating in areas that do have water," Rogers said. 

Due to the high temperatures, the ponds also have rotting vegetation that bacteria can feed upon, which the ducks then eat.

Toxins from this bacterium affect the central nervous system of waterfowl, ultimately resulting in death.

Symptoms of avian botulism include:

  • Involuntary muscle contractions/convulsions
  • Limp wings
  • Limp neck 
  • Paralysis
  • Birds propelling themselves through water with their wings

If you see any dead ducks, Rogers says don't touch them. Call the Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Or fill out the form, here.