More than 20 Canadian geese were found dead earlier this month at Nahant Marsh in Davenport. Then, just a few blocks away, more dead geese were found along with dozens of dead American white pelicans. According to Field and Stream, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources is currently investigating the causes of the mortality events.

While there are currently no definitive answers as to what happened to the birds, there are a few theories floating around.

Lead Poisoning

One of the DNR’s plausible theories is that the birds died from lead poisoning. A few of the birds that were found in the marsh were found to have elevated lead levels.

The marsh used to be the property of a hunting club. When the city took ownership of the land the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency removed lead shots from the marsh. However, there is a possibility that low water levels could have exposed lead that the clean-up missed.

Brian Ritter, the executive director of Nahant said in the Quad Cities Times that he does not agree with this theory.

"I don't think it's coming from here because we haven't had an indication of any lead since prior to my time, and I came in 2007," Ritter said.

Low Water Levels

Another theory that the DNR has is low water levels are leading to harmful bacteria and mold growing in shallow water areas. However, an argument against this theory is that the dead birds would have shown up on the Illinois side of the river- something that hasn’t happened yet.

For now, the DNR Is monitoring the situation.

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