MOLT, Mont. (AP) — Wildlife officials are watching for signs of disease as the carcasses of thousands of birds that died in a hailstorm are decaying on the shores of a Montana lake.

The Billings Gazette reported Sunday that Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks officials estimate that between 11,000 and 13,000 birds died from the Aug. 11 storm that struck the Big Lake Wildlife Management area.

The area northwest of Billings is the nesting place for several species of waterfowl, including Canada geese, pelicans and cormorants.

Officials have fished carcasses out of the lake, aiming to prevent botulism or blue-green algae blooms from developing in the water.

The agency says most of the dead birds will stay on the shores, though officials will monitor the decaying carcasses.

(Information from: The Billings Gazette,

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