Thursday, February 24, 2022

PSA: Beware of the Bird Flu

WUSA 9, See an unusual number of dead birds? Report to local animal agencies to help contain bird flu
People in the DMV are asked to look out for dead birds after a highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) has been confirmed in birds in Maryland and Virginia.

On Feb. 17, the U.S. Department of Agriculture confirmed that a backyard flock of birds was humanely killed after about 71 chickens, turkeys, geese and ducks tested positive for HPAI, or the bird flu.

On Tuesday, City Wildlife, a nonprofit in D.C. that assists sick and injured wild animals, is asking members of the community to report "[u]nusual numbers of dead wild birds" to local animal and wildlife organizations.

According to City Wildlife, HPAI is considered low risk for humans, but it is dangerous to birds and is "carried in respiratory secretions, saliva, and fecal material." Birds that are infected may not appear sick but the virus is highly contagious.

Sick birds could have symptoms like swollen eyes, coughing, nose and eye discharge, sneezing and coughing; head or neck positioned abnormally and uncoordinated movement such as swimming in circles; swollen legs and feet and patchy, discolored skin; and increased deaths within a flock.

City Wildlife urges people to avoid handling birds that are sick and dead, but if it's necessary people should wear a face mask and gloves.

This is what the United States Geological Survey (USGS) considers to be an "unusual number of dead wild birds":
  • For waterbirds -- 5 or more in the same area;
  • For raptors and scavengers (for instance, owls, crows, gulls and hawks) -- any number;
  • For other bird species such as songbirds -- 500 or more in the area.
Here's where you can report dead birds:

Oh great, another pandemic. 

We haven't seen any sign of this, but a big Tundra Swan did show up on the beach a while back, and it's slowly being scavenged away. 

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