OMAHA, Neb. (May 8, 2022 – AP) — Bird flu is killing an alarming number of bald eagles and other wild birds, with many sick birds arriving at rehabilitation centers unsteady on their talons and unable to fly.
The latest bird flu outbreak has led to the culling of about 37 million chickens and turkeys in U.S. farms since February, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture has confirmed 956 cases of bird flu in wild birds, including at least 54 bald eagles. But the actual number is likely significantly higher because not every wild bird that dies is tested and the federal tally doesn’t include cases recorded by wildlife rehabilitation centers.
“This is definitely an unprecedented event,” said researcher Rebecca Poulson, who has been studying avian influenza for 15 years at the University of Georgia’s Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study. “The number of birds and species and states already in which it has been detected is pretty alarming.”