State biologists confirmed avian influenza in a captive falcon from Columbia Falls.
Avian influenza is an infectious viral disease of birds that can cause high mortality rates in domestic flocks. This is the first case of it reported in the state, according to the Montana Department of Livestock.
No human health issues have been reported for this strain of influenza and no mortalities in domestic poultry in Montana have been detected, according to state officials.
The disease — highly pathogenic avian influenza — was discovered in a gyrfalcon, which is the largest of the falcon species and is used as a captive bird commonly for hunting or the art of falconry. The falcon died of unexplained causes and was sent to the state Fish, Wildlife and Parks Wildlife Lab in Bozeman, where biologists confirmed the influenza.
Avian influenza viruses rarely cause clinical signs in wild waterfowl, although raptors and wild game birds, like pheasants and quail, may be more susceptible to HPAI.
Wildlife officials are urging domestic poultry owners to take precautions to keep wild birds out of flocks.
Livestock officials are involved with the investigation and will be identifying other poultry producers in the area for surveillance purposes.
If you experience sudden onset of illness or high death loss in domestic poultry, contact the Montana Department of Livestock at 444-2043.
If you find sick or dead wild birds that have died from unknown causes, contact your local FWP Warden, Biologist or Regional office, or call the FWP wildlife veterinarian at 994-5671.
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