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Impact of Avian Influenza on Raptors

On January 14, 2016, a commercial turkey flock in Southwestern Indiana was diagnosed with highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI).  The strain that was identified, H7N8, is a strain of highly pathogenic avian influenza that is unique to Indiana and to the nation.  The CDC reports that the risk of illness in humans is very low.  

So what does that have to do with raptors?  In wild birds, HPAI has been found primarily in waterfowl.  Wild waterfowl typically do not get sick or die from HPAI, but they spread the virus in their feces. However, other species of wild birds, including raptors, can become ill and die from HPAI.  At Soarin' Hawk, we work with the Indiana Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and report any suspicious deaths of raptors.  They are sent for surveillance testing.   HPAI also effects our education programs : we are unable to take our education birds into any other state for programs due to HPAI being identified in Indiana.  HPAI also effects the release of injured or orphaned raptors in a very small way:  if we take an injured raptor in from another state, we cannot release the bird back into that state.  We do, however, have a new permit which allows us to release the raptor in Indiana.  

While Soarin' Hawk's part may be small, we take our role seriously in helping the Indiana Board of Animal Health identify cases of HPAI.  

You can also help by reporting unusual wild bird deaths (5 or more bird deaths in close proximity to each other).  They can be reported to the Indiana Department of Natural Resources (DNR) at 812-334-1137.