AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) - Authorities say eight bald eagles found dead on a lake near the Georgia-South Carolina border died of a disease linked to an invasive weed.
The Augusta Chronicle reports that the deaths were the result of an algae-borne neurotoxin linked to the invasive weed hydrilla. The birds died during the winter and early spring.
Wildlife officials say the eagles succumbed to avian vacuolar myelinopathy, caused by algae that grow on mats of hydrilla.
Officials say the areas are popular feeding sites for small aquatic birds, which are eaten by eagles and help spread the disease to them.
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers biologist Ken Boyd says low water levels and unseasonably warm temperatures may have hastened the growth of the weed, made it more accessible and helped spread the disease.