Bald eagle with bird flu found in West Seattle’s Lincoln Park

WDFW has confirmed at least 18 cases in bald eagles, meaning there could be many more. Highly virulent influenza has affected many bird species for months.

SEATTLE — Washington state officials and conservationists are warning about bird flu cases in West Seattle’s Lincoln Park and across the state, asking people to watch for symptoms and report them to hope to stop the spread.

“It becomes quiet in the summer and then during the migration period – September-October – we notice its resurgence,” said urban conservation expert Kersti Muul.

Muul volunteers his time to help sick and injured birds and has been called to several suspected cases of bird flu in recent weeks, including a bald eagle in Lincoln Park.

Bird flu, also known as avian flu, includes infections caused by many strains of viruses. They are classified as low virulent avian influenza (LPAI), which causes no signs or symptoms of mild illness, and highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI), which is more likely to cause illness and death in poultry. hold.

In May 2022, the Washington Department of Agriculture confirmed the presence of avian influenza in some backyard flocks. The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) has confirmed the disease in wild birds. A dashboard of cases can be found here.

WDFW has confirmed at least 18 cases of highly pathogenic avian influenza in bald eagles, but reports suggest there is likely more. Once the department becomes aware of a confirmed bird flu in an area, it will mark the area as a reservoir and not test further poultry in the same vicinity. In addition, birds in untested areas may die of disease before being found and examined.

But bald eagles are just one of a number of birds that have been found to have highly pathogenic avian influenza. Whatcom County recently saw a mass die-off of geese.

“The number of birds that died in mass was 400, which sounds like a big number but the overall impact on the population is not great at this point, but those reports help us understand how it’s spreading, how it’s spreading. it affects populations, all kinds of data like that.” WDFW spokesman Staci Lehman said.

WDFW says disease is natural, but doesn’t happen every year; The last recorded outbreak occurred between 2014 and 2015. According to WDFW, people need not panic but should take it seriously. Departments expect the number of cases to drop as water supplies increase and birds have more room to fly out.

Symptoms of HPAI include not being able to move as usual, diarrhea, runny nose, not hesitating to approach people, and other unusual behaviors. If you suspect a bird may have HPAI, report it to WDFW here.

WDFW also requires hunters to clean their materials when moving from one location to another and to clean their boots when they get home.

Muul said people can also contact her for help with injured birds here: kersti.e.muul@gmail.com, along with Animal Control.

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https://www.king5.com/article/tech/science/environment/bird-flu-eagles-washington-state/281-331a9ecc-4377-45ce-92bc-98e3aaac98f4 Bald eagle with bird flu found in West Seattle’s Lincoln Park

Edmund DeMarche

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