The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife reports that the Northeast is currently experiencing an outbreak of Highly Pathogen Avian Influenza. Recently the department has received a number of reports of dead or dying birds on coastal beaches believed to be a result of the virus. Avian influenza, or bird flu, is a respiratory disease caused by infection with a type of influenza virus.

The departments asks that people avoid touching or removing any dead or dying birds that are encountered on beaches or other public property. Officials are aware of the issue and will work to remove them as quickly as possible.

Birds that appear to be sick or injured should be left alone! The National Wildlife Disease Program recommends not handling deceased or injured wildlife. Do not transport birds that appear to be sick or injured to any rehab facility as it may further spread the virus.

Birds found dead on private land and/or beaches can be removed by the homeowner at their discretion. If removed, we are encouraging the use of masks and gloves when doing so. The dead bird should be buried or can be bagged and placed into the trash. Sick-acting birds should be left alone.

If an eagle is found, call Maine Police dispatch at 624-7076.

Avian flu viruses normally spread among wild water birds, like ducks and geese. These viruses can spread to domestic poultry, like chickens, ducks, geese, and guinea hens.

Avian flu viruses do not normally make humans sick but human infections with avian flu viruses have occurred. People who have regular contact with poultry or wild birds are most at risk