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Hundreds of wild birds are found dead; prevent the spread of bird flu


Bellingham — Nearly 400 wild geese were recently found dead on Weaser Lake southwest of Linden, and several tested positive for bird flu, prompting an alert from the Whatcom County Health Department.

According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, bird flu is called HPAI, which stands for highly pathogenic avian influenza.

“In western Washington, including Whatcom County, there have been sporadic HPAI infections in poultry flocks over the past year. “The virus is currently spreading among wild birds that migrate through this area, such as Canada geese and snow geese,” the Whatcom County Health Department said in a statement.

County health officials said bird flu is highly contagious to birds, but the risk to humans is low.

“This modern strain of avian flu does not appear to infect humans easily. As a precaution, people who have had contact with infected birds should contact the Whatcom County Health Department,” the statement said.

Chicken, eggs and other poultry and poultry products are safe to eat when handled properly and fully cooked, health officials said.

If you find a sick or dead wild bird or animal:

  • Do not touch sick birds or other wild animals or take them to the vet. Movement of sick animals can spread the virus.
  • Use the online form to report sick/dead wild birds to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.
  • Keep pets away from dead or sick animals. If you need to move a dead animal to keep your pet away from it, wear disposable gloves, double bag the animal, and dispose of it deep in the trash can to keep it out of the trash.
  • Bird hunters should follow standard safety precautions, including not dumping carcasses in the field. Place the animal in two bags and place in the trash can.

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