Museum curator finds two dead crows, suspects avian flu

Reports to the provincial Wild Bird Reporting

Crow

Earlier this May, Lakes District Museum Society’s curator Michael Riis-Christianson, discovered two dead crows and an injured one on the museum premises, after which he decided that reporting about the birds and then informing the public on precautions would be the right next steps.

“I found them in early May. There were two dead crows within six feet of each other near the General Store display. Another crow was on the ground nearby and unable to fly. It was very lethargic,” he said, adding that he hadn’t heard of any more dead crows in the village.

As a precaution, he called the provincial Wild Bird Reporting line and informed of the dead birds.

“Corvids are very intelligent. People have observed them using tools to obtain food. They are also very social animals. There were crows watching out for the sick one that I found. They wouldn’t leave it behind, and whenever I got close to the bird, they would make a heck of a rack. One tried to dive bomb me!” said Riis-Christianson.

To report a sick or a dead bird, British Columbians are asked to contact the provincial Wild Bird Reporting Line at 1-866-431-2474.

People are also asked not to touch a dead, injured or sick bird.

According to the British Columbia Interagency Wild Bird Mortality Investigation Protocols, dead birds must be handled using common sense sanitary precautions to reduce risks to human health. Some other precautions that people must take when dealing with a dead or an injured bird are:Carcasses should be handled using a shovel or, if one is not available, disposable gloves or inverted plastic bags, followed by thorough hand-washing with soap and water (20 seconds to remove debris).

Avoid contact with feces, blood, body fluids, & sharp parts of the bird.

“I have never seen three sick birds in a matter of days before. Avian influenza seems the likely cause,” he added.

Some of the signs of avian flu are, lack of energy or movement, nervousness, tremors or lack of coordination, swelling around the head, neck and eyes, lack of energy or movement, coughing, gasping for air or sneezing, diarrhea or sudden death.

For more information on reporting and the protocols, people can visit: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/environment/plants-animals-ecosystems/wildlife/wildlife-conservation/wildlife-health/report-sick-or-dead-animals