A bald eagle found near Port Louis on the west coast has died from what Conservation Officer James Hilgemann says is the islands’ first recorded case of avian pox in wild birds.
Mr. Hilgemann said the wildlife veterinarian wasn’t too surprised that avian pox has shown up here, as it has been found in Prince Rupert for over a year. He has also heard of it being found in domestic chickens on the islands.
The eagle was found by a worker at the Langara Lodge Outpost. It was acting lethargic and had scabs around its eyes -classic symptoms of avian pox. The lodge flew the bird out to Masset, where it died.
According to information from the provincial government, avian pox is a slow-developing disease of birds, commonly transmitted by mosquitoes. Signs are wart-like nodules on feet and legs or around the base of the beak and eyes. Birds may be weak if the lesions interfere with feeding; the lesions can also partially block air passages. There is no evidence the virus can affect humans.
Mr. Hilgemann is interested in hearing from any islanders who observe or find wild birds with suspected avian pox. Call him at 559-8431 with the species, location, date and time – samples are not required.
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