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Concerns raised with dead waterfowl sightings

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Many waterfowls were found deceased or acting ill along Jessie Lake in recent days.

The Government of Alberta has been contacted concerning the waterfowl found and Specimens have been collected by Alberta Fish and Wildlife for testing.

Results are expected back in the coming weeks.

The waterfowls have been observed to show symptoms of Avian Influenza.

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The waterfowl affected are Eared Grebes, which are described as small waterbirds that are mostly black with chestnut flanks and golden plumes fanning out from behind bright red eyes or grayish black overall.

Anyone who has noticed a cluster of dead waterfowl or raptors (hawks, owls, falcons), corvids (raven, magpie, crow) or gulls, please report these toll-free at 310-0000.

Members of the public are asked to avoid handling live or dead wild birds but if handling is unavoidable people should take the following precautions.

  • wear disposable gloves
  • place a plastic bag over your hand before picking up the dead bird, or shuffle the dead bird into a box or container without touching it (for example, use a stick to move the bird)
  • Wash your hands with soap and water and disinfect any surfaces that have come into contact with dead birds using alcohol, diluted bleach, or commercial disinfectants.

The Avian influenza primarily affects waterfowl but can spread to domestic poultry like turkeys, ducks, and chickens.

Alberta identified the first case of the outbreak back in April of 2022. The Avian Influenza Risk level is currently sitting at Red after the Province of Alberta declared the outbreak to have declined, as of June 20.

Signs of the Avian Flu in domestic birds can include the following:

• Drop in production of eggs/soft shells/eggs without shells
• High and sudden mortality rate
• Quietness and extreme depression
• Swelling of the skin under the eyes
• Swelling/congestion of wattles and combs

Head tremors and limp neck are common signs of avian influenza in sick wild birds as well.

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