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(DLM3187) - Deirdre Butler, an Animal Care Technician for the Greenwood Wildlife Rehabilitation Sanctuary in Longmont , holds a female Gadwall duck, which is one of 42 ducks currently recovering at the facility that were brought there from the Metro Wastewater Reclamation District plant in northeast Denver. Steve Frank with the Metro Wastewater Reclamation District said that 418 dead ducks have been found at the plant and 84 injured ducks have been found and transfered to animal centers such as Greenwood. Greenwood's Animal Care Manager Libby Osnes-Erie has been caring for some of those ducks and she said that she thinks the answer to the mystery of the dying ducks is in the feathers. "These ducks aren't sick. They're just not waterproof because of a contaminant on their feathers," Osnes-Erie said as she and animal care technician Deirdre Butler displayed one of the ducks whose feathers were covered in a crusty residue. They speculate the scum from one of the treatment plant's secondary clarifying ponds. She said because the animal's feathers were covered with the scum and not preened properly that they no longer provided the waterproofing and warmth needed to protect the bird from the elements. "If they netted the ponds it would fix the problem," Osnes-Erie said.(DARIN MCGREGOR/ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS) **Steve Frank (cq) **Deirdre Butler (cq) **Libby Osnes-Erie (cq)

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