Greenwood Village Animal Services has received an increase in reports of sick Canadian geese in the past few weeks and is asking the public to be cautious of downed or sick birds, and to take extra precautions if they encounter one.
With the nationwide egg shortage attributed to Avian influenza or bird flu, you may have already heard of the virus. Bird flu is a disease caused by certain flu viruses that usually spreads between birds and do not normally infect people. Infected birds can spread the virus through their mucous, saliva or feces. People rarely get bird flu.
In the past few weeks, Arapahoe County Animal Services has recorded a spike in bird flu among birds in the area. So far this year, avian flu has been detected in both red tail hawks and geese, according to county reports. While primarily found in waterfowl and chickens, raptors can also become infected when eating deceased fowl.
Birds infected with the flu may look disoriented, shake their head, or stare up at the sky. As a general precaution, people should avoid direct contact with wild birds and observe wild birds only from a distance, whenever possible. Do not to touch a downed or deceased bird. People should also avoid contact between their pets (e.g., pet birds, dogs and cats) with wild birds. Residents keeping backyard chickens are also asked to remain vigilant and call their veterinarian if your flock shows signs of influenza or if you expect exposure.
Please email Greenwood Village Animal Services or call 303-773-2525 if you have any questions.
If you think you have been exposed to an ill bird, please contact Arapahoe County Public Health at 303-795-4584.
For additional resources, Arapahoe County recommends checking out: Colorado State University Avian Health Hotline 970-297-4008, Colorado State Veterinarian Office 303-869-9130, United States Department of Agriculture Bird Hotline 1-866-536-7539, and Birds of Prey Foundation 303-460-0674. State information available at Colorado Parks & Wildlife - Avian Influenza.