Residents in Mt. Juliet are concerned after nearly two dozen mallard ducks were found dead on their property off Old Hickory Lake.
Michelle Desirey and her son, Catlin Gentry, told News 2 all of the ducks died on Sunday. A total of 20 were found dead, including six baby ducklings.
Gentry said their family has lived on the property for decades, and they have always seen ducks on the water until Sunday.
“It’s not something that you normally see,” he said.
Gentry explained that two ducks flew in and started having seizure-like symptoms. They were shaking and couldn’t control their movements.
“And within five minutes of that happening, they were gone,” he added.
Each duck that died did so in a similar fashion, some even dropping from the air after taking off.
The family is also knowledgeable when it comes to water fowl. They raise domestic ducks and occasionally harbor wild ones.
For now, Gentry said they plan to keep all of their own ducks away from the water.
“I probably have to wait until it rains, to dilute whatever’s out there, if that’s what it is,” he told News 2.
The fear, however, is because Old Hickory Lake is such a major water source. People kayak, water board, swim and go boating.
“So the ducks are dying, the turtles are eating those, the fish in the water, and people eat the fish,” Gentry said. “It’s scary to think about. You don’t know how it impacts the ecosystem.”
All of the ducks have been shipped to a laboratory in Athens, Georgia to determine the cause of death.
TWRA spokesman Doug Markham told News 2 the agency is concerned but doesn’t think water quality is to blame.
“It’s a good lake. There could be some isolated spots, where something’s going on, but I would go over and fish at Old Hickory Lake tomorrow. There are a lot of fish which is a good indication there’s good water quality so I wouldn’t be scared to go over there at all,” Markham said.
It could be six weeks or longer before TWRA learns what killed the ducks.
Markham said it is not a guarantee the lab work will determine what happened.
“Some things just happen sometimes. It may just be temporary, it may just be isolated. We just don’t want it to spread out and that’s one thing we’ll be checking for sure,” he said.