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Dead birds have been showing up across Adams County and Colorado since the fall of 2022, and reports keep coming in.
“HPAI is a new strain of avian influenza that is causing widespread …
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After Adams County reported a dead red-tailed hawk found at Barr Lake State Park had tested positive for the Highly Pathogenic Avian Flu, a flock of geese were found dead in a retention pond in the southwestern part of the county. HPAI is suspected in those deaths.
Now at least 20 birds have been found dead in Westminster, most centered in the City Park area. HPAI is suspected int hose deaths as well.
“HPAI is a new strain of avian influenza that is causing widespread mortality in some species of wild birds,” wrote Kara Van Hoose, a spokesperson for Colorado Parks and Wildlife.
So far, birds across the state have been affected, including 6,376,000 commercial chickens, 924 backyard poultry and 12,000 gamebirds, Van Hoose wrote.
The Colorado Sun reported that the decrease in birds also meant a decrease in the production of eggs, raising the cost that residents see in grocery stores.
A news release from Adams County says on Dec. 27, 100 Canadian geese were found dead in an oil and gas pond, and a red-tailed hawk at Barr Lake State Park was found as well.
The red-tailed hawk tested positive for a highly pathogenic avian influenza. The geese were not confirmed to have died from HPAI, but it’s likely, according to the county's statement.
As of Jan. 10, approximately 20 dead geese were found in Westminster, with City Park serving as the location with the largest die-off. CPW has not tested the geese for avian flu, but the birds display the symptoms, according to City Spokesperson Andy Le.
Le said animal management anticipates more die offs in the future.
In Northglenn, City Spokesperson Diana Wilson said a similar situation is happening in their parks, though they don’t have an exact number. Thornton Spokesperson Todd Barnes said nothing has been reported in his city.
According to Adams County, the current strain has been identified in all 50 states. It’s also been detected in all four North American migration flyways and expected to persist through spring migrations, according to Van Hoose.
The county encourages bird owners to work to ensure domestic birds do not come into contact with wild birds, and keep poultry confined inside during this high-risk period of migratory bird activity. The county also encourages bird owners to limit traffic on and off farms and use personal protective equipment and disinfection when caring for birds to avoid introducing HPAI.
Although it’s rare for an HPAI strain to cause infections and illness in humans, Le said for residents to not approach the birds.
“If you find three or more dead wild birds in a specific area within a two-week period OR if you see live birds showing clinical signs of disease, please contact your local Colorado Parks and Wildlife office,” Van Hoose said.
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