WoodmanLife peregrine falcon tests positive for avian flu

(Omaha, NE) -- The peregrine falcon that died in a nest box on the WoodmenLife Tower in downtown Omaha tested positive for Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza.

The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission says the adult female falcon, named Chayton, died April 18 after being observed, via WoodmenLife’s webcam, behaving oddly. The online webcam provides a live public view of the nest box. Chayton was known to return to the tower yearly to lay eggs.The falcon was retrieved by the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission and Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza testing was performed at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Veterinary Diagnostic Center.

HPAI is a highly contagious virus that spreads easily among birds and has been detected in both domestic poultry and wild birds. Among wild birds, waterfowl and other waterbirds appear more susceptible to HPAI than other species. Peregrine falcons’ diet consists mostly of other birds, and the species routinely preys upon ducks, shorebirds and other waterbirds. Game and Parks says Chayton may have been exposed to HPAI from her prey.

In addition to the peregrine falcon, HPAI has been detected in the following wild birds in Nebraska during this outbreak: several geese, a swan, two bald eagles and an American white pelican.

Sightings of sick or dead wild birds should be reported to your nearest Game and Parks office; find a location here. For domestic bird illness or unusual death, report to the Nebraska Department of Agriculture at 402-471-2351 and the USDA at 866-536-7593. You can find additional information about avian influenza here.

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