One bald eagle dying is awful, but apparently the numbers are worse than we thought.

William Straite
William Straite

Cases of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI), more commonly known as the bird flu, have been popping up all across the United States. Unfortunately, this also includes many areas of New York State. The death rate for birds and raptors with HPAI is around 100%. To make things worse, even if only one bird has it, the entire flock must be euthanized as a safety precaution.

The Finger Lakes Raptor Center recently surrendered a bald eagle near Sampson State Park in Romulus, New York. The bird was reported by the park manager for when it was acting different and fell from the top of a tree. When he was taken to Cornell Wildlife Hospital, they determined he caught the bird flu.

Finger Lakes Raptor Center, Inc. via Facebook
Finger Lakes Raptor Center, Inc. via Facebook

The bird was later euthanized for safety reasons. Veterinarians determined the bird was 19 years old, a long living native in the Finger Lakes. They assume the eagle likely had offspring at the time too, which sadly means they were already dead from HPAI.

Since March, Cornell has confirmed at least nine bald eagles have died from the bird flu. But like the bald eagle's offspring in Romulus, there are a number of other wild birds that haven't been accounted for.

Adult Bald Eagle with two chicks in a nest in a tree on the side of a cliff.

If you ever notice a bird in the wild acting strangely (uncoordinated, paralyzed, twisted neck, etc.), you should contact the Department of Environmental Conservation immediately.

Help slow the spread of the bird flu and save other birds from potentially being infected.

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