The Town and M.D. of Bonnyville have released a statement about the concerns from residents about dead waterfowl surrounding Jessie Lake on Tuesday.
The municipalities confirmed in a press release that waterfowl samples have been collected by Alberta Fish and Wildlife, as Lakeland Connect reported on Tuesday morning.
“Symptoms that were observed were a strong indicator of Avian Influenza. The waterfowl affected are Eared Grebes, which are described as small waterbirds that are mostly black with chestnut flanks and golden plumes fanning out from behind bright red eyes or grayish black overall,” the release said.
It’s believed it will take a couple of weeks to get a definite answer on whether the cause is avian flu.
As a general guideline, members of the public should avoid handling live or dead wild birds. If handling can’t be avoided, wear disposable gloves, place a plastic bag over your hand before picking up the dead bird, or shuffle the dead bird into a box or container without touching it (for example, use a stick to move the bird), the release said.
Wash your hands with soap and water and disinfect any surfaces that have come into contact with dead birds using alcohol, diluted bleach, or commercial disinfectants.
Despite reports of the outbreak declining, as of June 20, the Avian Influenza risk level for poultry has been updated to red. While head tremors and limp neck are common signs of avian influenza in sick wild birds, signs of Avian Flu in domestic birds can include:
- Drop in production of eggs/soft shells/eggs without shells
- High and sudden mortality rate
- Quietness and extreme depression
- Swelling of the skin under the eyes
- Swelling/congestion of wattles and combs
If members of the public notice clusters or groups of dead waterfowl or raptors (hawks, owls, falcons), corvids (raven, magpie, crow) or gulls, please report these to toll-free at 310-0000.
More information can be found on the Alberta government’s website.