Almost an entire flock of ducks were found dead and covered in oil in a storm drain retention pond in Penacook, New Hampshire.
Now, wildlife officials are trying to figure out who is responsible.
Open water is hard to come by in the dead of winter and the water inside the storm water retention pond on Alice Drive in Penacook proved to be a death trap for a flock of more than two dozen ducks.
There were only four still alive Saturday morning when state conservation officers arrived.
Twenty two birds were already dead, one died over the weekend, and another was found dead early Monday morning.
The Department of Environmental Services is using absorbent pads to soak up the contaminate to help determine exactly what it is and how it got here.
"We would be interested in knowing if this is an inadvertent contamination or intentional," said conservation officer Lt. Jim Juneau. "You know, did someone pour motor oil, if you will, down a storm drain."
Lt. Juneau says the oil hinders the insulation ability of the ducks down feathers, making them vulnerable to hypothermia. He says the flock likely froze to death.
"We have had an extremely cold winter and if their feathers and down is not doing the job it's supposed to, it'd be like us venturing out without our winter jackets on," Lt. Juneau explained.
The ducks that survived are recovering at Wings of the Dawn Rehab Center in Henniker while experts try to figure out who is responsible for killing their flock.
"It's sad obviously to see any animals that are affected in this manner due to a manmade reason, an unnecessary manmade reason," said Lt. Juneau.
Waterfowl are protected under federal law, so Juneau says if someone is found to have done this intentionally they could face federal and state charges.
If you have any information about this oil spill, contact the NH Fish and Game Department at 1-800-344-3262.