What's Killing Off Birds In Hammond, Indiana?

Testing is underway to see what is killing off birds in Hammond, Indiana. Officials are warning people to stay away from the area where birds are being found. CBS 2's Marissa Parra reports residents are anxious to find a cause.

Video Transcript

- Testing is underway to see what's killing off birds in Hammond, Indiana. As officials warn people to stay away from the area where birds are being found, residents are anxious to find the cause. CBS 2's Marissa Parra is working to get answers.

CAROLYN MARSH: That's the geese calling.

MARISSA PARRA: Carolyn Marsh has spent three decades watching Hammond's birds like a hawk. Now she's watching them die by the dozens in Wolf Lake.

CAROLYN MARSH: It's emotionally a roller coaster.

MARISSA PARRA: After February's harsh snowstorm, she did expect to see some casualties.

CAROLYN MARSH: But to see the number of birds in the channel-- in the Wolf Lake channel was something I had to investigate.

MARISSA PARRA: Marsh is one of hundreds documenting her findings in the S.W.A.N. Save Whiting and Our Neighbor's Facebook group. Since our story aired a week ago, posts of dead birds haven't stopped. It's not just in Wolf Lake anymore, now there are spottings here and there in places like Hammond Marina and they're not just finding dead birds.

DON KOONCE: Yeah. Here's the dead here or what of it. I found, like, four today. I am worried or whatever. You know what I mean? Because I usually come out here and fish or whatever.

And I fish out here with my cousin and his kids. So until they figure out what's going on and whatever, there's no way. You know what I mean?

MARISSA PARRA: The Illinois Department of Environmental Management or IDEM was here taking samples around Wolf Lake and around discharge points from industrial plants the other day. But fractured trust among people who live here means people like Marsh are looking at doing their own testing.

CAROLYN MARSH: Because of the lack of trust, there certainly is the option. If we can get connected to a chemist who can help us, that's certainly something that we're considering.

MARISSA PARRA: If the results of the testing come back to show that the reason the birds are dying is not because of weather and it's not because of illness, then IDEM says they will do further testing to see exactly where it did come from. Reporting from Hammond, Marissa Parra, CBS 2 News.

- Marissa's been trying to reach the mayor of Hammond for over a week now for a response. She hasn't heard back but will stay on the case.