The City of Stratford confirmed Thursday that three three swans recently died as a result of Avian Influenza (H5N1).
A swan was found deceased Saturday, while two others were found to be lethargic over the following days, said Quin Malott, parks, forestry and cemetery manager. The two other swans soon died, as well, he said.
It was determined by the city's veterinarian and the avian pathologist at the Animal Health lab in Guelph that Avian Influenza was the most likely cause. Lab work confirmed that on Thursday afternoon.
Malott said there is not much the city can do to prevent birds living in the wild acquiring (H5N1), the current Avian flu spreading in Canada, which has a high mortality rate. Migrating birds could be bringing the flu back with them, but it is difficult to know where it came from, Malott said.
Malott said the city loses a swan about once per year, sometimes getting hit by a car or caught by a coyote. To lose three adult swans is concerning, he said.
Further information provided via a media release said a turkey vulture was found dead earlier this week, likely from the 'bird flu'.
The City of Stratford reminds residents and visitors not to feed local wildfowl, as it encourages the birds to gather in large numbers and increases the chances of spreading bird flu.
Anyone who finds a dead, injured or sick swan in the parks system is asked to call the City of Stratford’s parks, forestry and cemetery manager at 519-271-0250 extension 246.
If a sick or dead wild bird is found on private property, you can report it immediately to the Ontario regional centre of the Canadian Wildlife Health Cooperative at (866) 673-4781.
The local Humane Society also plays an important role in picking up injured birds and sending for testing, as needed.
For more information about Avian Influenza, please visit http://canada.ca/avianflu