Bird flu is mostly thought of as an illness that strikes livestock like chickens, but it can spread to wild birds such as bald eagles. A sick bald eagle was found by a local naturalist in Lincoln Park, according to the West Seattle Blog. The raptor was known to naturalist Kersti Muul, who says it is one half of a mated pair that resides in a nest above Colman Pool.
“I received a call regarding an eagle on the ground” Muul told the West Seattle Blog. “Ironically it was near their old nest in the Grand fir by the trail junctions. When I arrived to assess, it was very obvious that HPAI (Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza) had taken hold. It was having the beginnings of neurological issues”. Footage of the sick bird was shared on YouTube.
The most heartbreaking part of rescuing the bird from the floor of Lincoln Park, according to Muul, was hearing it call out for its mate. An employee at Seattle Parks also reported that he heard the eagle crying the night before. This struck him as odd. Muul theorizes that’s when the eagle lost its ability to fly.
“HPAI is not trivial,” Muul told the West Seattle Blog. “This is the second eagle in the area in less than two weeks, along with the snow goose. We also had a confirmed case in West Seattle recently of a Peregrine falcon. The mates are at high risk and I won’t be surprised if they show up grounded soon. They are obviously eating infected waterfowl.” Unfortunately, there is no cure or treatment for the bird flu. “Diligently watching out every day now. HPAI is going to have to burn itself out,” Muul said.
The bird flu will prove fatal to the bald eagle, experts say
The Progressive Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) took in the sick eagle for care. This is the second time they’ve had to do so in the past two weeks with a local eagle. HPAI was also confirmed in a Perigrine falcon recently.
The mass culling of over 47 million chickens and turkeys on commercial poultry farms across the nation due to avian influenza has caused a significant price hike for consumers buying poultry at the supermarket.
The highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) A(H5N1) virus is primarily found in birds and can quickly spread among them. It often proves deadly – especially for domestic poultry, according to the CDC. This HPAI H5N1 virus first appeared in Asia December 2003 and has since then caused high mortality rates among both wild birds and poultry in Asian, Middle Eastern, European, and African countries.
The Asian HPAI H5N1 virus has infected domestic poultry in many countries around the world, and as of 2011, six of these countries are considered to have endemics (countries where the disease is continuously present). The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization considers Bangladesh, China, Egypt, India, Indonesia, and Vietnam to all be endemic for this type of virus.