Cheshire geese killed by mold spores
By: Jesse Buchanan, 2:19 p.m.

CHESHIRE - Seven Canada geese found dead on a pond at Elim Park on Cook Hill Road died of a respiratory disease after inhaling mold spores, according to Greg Chasko of the state Department of Environmental Protection Wildlife Division.

Chasko announced Monday that the geese were likely infected with the aspergillosis fungus while feeding in fields covered with moldy hay. While aspergillosis can be contracted by humans, the disease is not contagious and can only be contracted by coming into contact with the mold spores.

"It's not really a human concern in the case of this kind of die-off," Chasko said.

The DEP was notified earlier this month by Cheshire police and homeowners about the dead geese. Tests done on the water at the pond found nothing that would have killed the geese.

Mold spores were found in the lungs of the geese after a necropsy.

Chasko said the geese also could have contracted aspergillosis from eating mold-infested bread. He said bits of bread thrown to geese can be left on the ground and eaten after mold spores have landed on them.

Even without the danger of infecting the birds, Chasko said feeding bread to geese keeps them from eating the natural food they are designed to eat.

"Feeding water fowl is not a good idea," he said.