Among the latest victims of the bird flu outbreak sweeping across the country: the national bird of the United States.
Bald eagles in 14 states died after contracting the bird flu, while eagles in another two states are suspected of falling ill due to the highly pathogenic avian influenza, or HPAI, according to data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. In total, 36 bald eagles have died since February.
The Georgia Department of Natural Resources reported on Thursday three bald eagles in the state that died recently tested positive for the bird flu, and other dead bald eagles will also be tested for HPAI.
Officials said recent aerial surveys of eagle nests on the state’s coast revealed several failed nests, including eaglets dead or missing when they normally wouldn’t have left the nest yet. Bob Sargent, program manager with the department’s wildlife conservation section, said nest success is down around 30% this year.
On April 8, a bald eagle in Bay View, Wisconsin was found unable to fly. Wildlife rehabilitators with the Wisconsin Humane Society collected and provided care for the bird in Milwaukee. However, it was euthanized the next day after its condition deteriorated significantly.
Initial test results on the eagle released by the WHS on Friday showed it was “presumed positive” for the bird flu.
Here are where bald eagles testing positive for bird flu have died, and how many died in each state, according to USDA data as of Thursday:
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- Florida: 9
- Georgia: 3
- Kansas: 2
- Maine: 2
- Minnesota: 2
- Nebraska: 1
- North Carolina: 3
- North Dakota: 2
- Ohio: 2
- Pennsylvania: 1
- South Carolina: 3
- South Dakota: 3
- Vermont: 3
- Wisconsin: 1
Tens of millions of domestic and wild birds have died or were euthanized as a result of the disease, detected in 32 states as of Saturday, most recently Utah and Idaho.
The bird flu is considered to be a low risk to humans by health officials, but they still are feeling the effects of it. The outbreak is expected to raise the cost of poultry products and eggs later this year. Shoppers can expect to pay 6%-7% more for poultry products and 2.5%-3.5% for eggs at the grocery store.
Contributing: Paul A. Smith, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Follow Jordan Mendoza on Twitter: @jordan_mendoza5.