The bodies of thousands of migrant seabirds washed up on the shores of Newfoundland in eastern Canada this week. Initial investigations showed that the birds died of bird flu.
Dead common ravens, herring gulls, Iceland gulls, and American crows were found, wildlife biologist Peter Thomas from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, said. The agency is conducting more research to confirm the animals died from the highly contagious avian influenza virus.
Since May, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency has confirmed thirteen cases of bird flu in Newfoundland. Bird flu has also been spreading rapidly in Vancouver Island, infecting great horned owls, bald eagles, great blue herons, ducks, geese, and crows, according to the British Columbia Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
“Every day, I receive phone calls saying ten are dead,” Elizabeth Melnick of Elizabeth’s Wildlife Center said. “Wildlife centers in the country usually choose to save the dying ones, as dead ones are picked up by the city.”
Bird flu has been affecting wild birds, and birds kept on farms worldwide. When the virus is detected on a farm, all animals in the area are destroyed.