Arapahoe County Animal Services and Arapahoe County Public Health are asking the public to be cautious of downed or sick birds in their area and to take extra precautions if they encounter one.
In the past few weeks, officials have recorded a spike in the Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) among birds in the area. So far this year, avian flu has been detected in both red tail hawks and geese in Arapahoe County, and Animal Services is experiencing an increase in calls for sick, injured or deceased birds.
While primarily found in waterfowl and chickens, raptors can also become infected when eating deceased fowl. Just this week, a distressed owl was reported in the County and was suspected of being infected with influenza. Birds infected with the flu may look disoriented, shake their head or stare up at the sky.
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.
Animal Services and Public Health warn residents not to touch a downed or deceased bird and leave it alone. Please contact Animal Services at 720-874-6750 ext. 4 if you have any questions. If you think you have been exposed to an ill bird, please contact Public Health at 303-795-4584.
For additional resources, check 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 (state.co.us)