Though it’s long been a killer of wild waterfowl and domestic poultry, bird flu has started taking a toll on Wyoming’s raptors. It’s still uncertain how badly it will spread among birds of prey, a wildlife disease expert said.
“These viruses are always re-sorting and reorganizing,” Michael Pipas, a wildlife disease biologist with USDA Wildlife Services, told Cowboy State Daily. “In this case, instead of just killing waterfowl and poultry it (avian influenza) has started killing birds of prey.”
So far, up to 100 eagles, hawk and falcons are known to have died of the disease in Wyoming, he said. The infections are thought to have begun this spring.
“It’s not like birds of prey are falling off branches left and right,” but USDA and other agencies are trying to keep watch and hoping that the virus doesn’t take off in raptors the way it has in other bird species.