Bird Flu kills three bald eagles in Chatham, Liberty, and Glynn Co.

Published: Apr. 19, 2022 at 4:45 PM EDT|Updated: Apr. 19, 2022 at 5:29 PM EDT
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Three bald eagles were found dead in coastal counties, officials with Georgia Department of Natural Resources say the bird flu is likely undercutting nesting success for the eagles.

“They exhibit tremors, and seizures, respiratory distress,” Bob Sargent, Program Director said.

Bob Sargent with Georgia Department of Natural Resources says the bald eagles in Chatham, Liberty and Glynn counties were found dead in March and tests showed later the virus was the cause.

They likely caught the bird flu by eating ducks who were infected with Avian Influenza.

Bald eagle nesting is now a concern.

He says the winter success rate is typically around 70 percent.

“By success what I mean is that the nest fledges at least one eaglet, one young eagle,” Sargent said.

But he found that rate to be much lower at 47 percent in the coastal area.

“To see that many nests fail when we know that we did have high path on the coast and some adult eagles did die from it and ducks were dying from it. It’s entirely likely that many of those nests failed because of the virus,” Sargent said.

Sargent says to avoid handling sick or dead birds but to report them to DNR.

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