WDFW: Over 700 geese, other waterfowl in Skagit County dead from bird flu

Biologists with the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) said they have recovered more than 700 dead waterfowl due to avian flu. 

WDFW said the birds— mostly juvenile snow geese— were taken from areas on or around Skagit Bay, Camano Island, northwestern Snohomish County and Port Susan in Island County.

Samples have been taken from these birds for testing for avian influenza (also known as bird flu), with H5N1 strain Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) suspected.

Infected birds may appear lethargic, unable to fly, and exhibit wheezing, vomiting, or have diarrhea or secretions from their mouth or nostrils. 

Experts say this strain is happening across the Northern Hemisphere, in places like Europe and the United Kingdom.

However, this bird flu likely won't impact goose hunting season, which re-opens on Dec. 10. 

"We’re not expecting that the bird flu or avian flu is going to have an impact on waterfowl hunting season. We have very robust numbers of waterfowl in our state, but it is something to pay close attention to, it is concerning," said Chase Gunnell, the Puget Sound region communications manager for WDFW.

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Photo from WDFW

WDFW continues to ask members of the public who find sick or dead birds to report them immediately using this online form and not touch them.