Cases declined in many places this summer, but the virus never completely disappeared. Now it’s on the move.
The blue-winged teal, a type of duck, is among the first species to fly south in the fall. In mid-September, three teal collected by hunters tested positive for the virus in Mississippi, marking the first detections in that state. The finding claims that “Yes, the virus persisted in northern latitudes throughout the summer,” Mr Richards said. “And it comes back on the wings of wild waterfowl.”
Wisconsin began to see a spike in wild bird infections around Labor Day, Dr. Poulsen said, and recently documented its first poultry outbreaks since May. “We were really hoping we were out of the woods,” he said.
The virus appears to be making a comeback in other northern regions, including Minnesota, North Dakota and Alberta, Canada. So far, experts say, the surge has been weaker than it was in the spring. “But there are a lot more geese and ducks coming down from the Arctic,” said Margo Pybus, provincial wildlife disease specialist with Alberta’s Fish and Wildlife Division.
Further south, wildlife settlements brace for a flood of fall migrants. Southern California was spared in the spring, but Dr. Hendrik Nollens, vice president of wildlife health at the San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance, doesn’t expect to be so lucky this fall.
The San Diego Zoo and its sister facility, the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, covered their outdoor aviaries and removed food and water sources that could attract avian intruders, even going so far as to drain a pond popular with birds. wild ducks. They also moved 900 birds to more protected habitats – “a Herculean effort” that involved moving hundreds of flamingos, Dr Nollens said.
To pull off the feat, employees guided numerous flamingos in enclosed trailers, which delivered the animals to covered or indoor habitats. Staff members modified these new spaces to accommodate long-legged wading birds, adding feeding pools, trimming low tree branches and raising sprinklers designed to keep their feathers in good condition.
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