Healthcare

At least 3 bald eagles dead in Georgia amid bird flu outbreak

Charlie Riedel/ AP
Bald eagles roost in a tree at Loess Bluffs National Wildlife Refuge Friday, Dec. 24, 2021, in Mound City, Mo.

At least three bald eagles died in Georgia after the bird flu was detected in the state’s coastal region this week, state officials said on Thursday.

The Georgia Department of Natural Resources (DNR) said in a release the avian flu was confirmed in three birds that died in Chatham, Liberty and Glynn counties. Officials are checking other dead carcasses for the flu.

Georgia officials added that in six coastal counties, they found nests with dead eaglets and missing young, warning that spread of the avian flu could “undercut nesting success for eagles in the state’s coastal counties.”

Bob Sargent, a program manager for the Georgia DNR, estimated nest success across the coastal region of the state was down 30 percent, according to the release. About a third of the state’s nests are located on the coast.

The Agriculture Department has reported the avian flu in around 30 states, with the most cases confirmed in North Carolina, at 143 positive samples. Bald eagle mortalities with confirmed bird flu samples have also been reported in several states.

The Avian Flu has circulated across the country since January and has led to some mass quarantines and euthanizing of flocks at bird farms, including 85,000 birds at a farm in South Dakota in late March.

The bald eagle — the United States’ national bird — is a success story for conservationists. The species was lifted out of endangered status in 2007.

Last year, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service reported strong population growth, with 316,700 bald eagles estimated across the lower 48 states in 2018 to 2019.

Tags Avian Flu bald eagles Georgia
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