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June Mayors Message

6/1/2022

Mayor’s Message

As Mayor, I receive a wide variety of interesting calls regarding a wide variety of issues and concerns.  This week was no different when I received a call from a concerned and observant resident, informing me of a sick or injured bird in the park.  The concerned citizen had already made calls to some state agencies and was told that they didn’t have the resources to pick up birds.

I went to the park with some “tools” and a garbage bag, intending to gather up and dispose of the bird.  However, when I arrived, I saw a big, beautiful bird that was trying unsuccessfully to fly.  I initially suspected an injured wing, and my mission changed from disposal to rescue, of what turned out to be a Turkey vulture.

 With the assistance of one of our park contractors, we began searching for a bird rescue organization and were lucky to find the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center of Northern Utah (WRCNU). They are located in Ogden on Park Blvd., west of the Timbermine restaurant and  their website is wrcnu.org.  We sent them some pictures and video of the bird, and they instructed me to capture the bird using a blanket or sheet, then transport it in a cardboard box to their facility. 

Upon arrival, I completed the questionnaire and made a donation to their great organization.  I was surprised when the lady retrieving the bird was dressed in a full hazmat suit.  They suspected that the bird may have Avian Bird influenza, and I was told it is extremely contagious amongst all bird species, so they take the precautions to protect the other birds in their facility.

The bird ultimately tested positive for Avian Bird Influenza.  Unfortunately, the very next day, another sick vulture was spotted on 7700 S, which is cause for concern.  It is suspected that the predator birds probably ate an infected bird and, in turn, became infected.  For that reason, it is important to dispose of them properly.  We don’t want to cause panic, but over 1 million chickens have been lost in Cache Valley as a result of the Avian flu.

According to the State of Utah Veterinarian, “Turkey vultures are one of the more commonly affected. They (residents) should contact DWR (Division of Wildlife Resources) every time and explain the situation. They (DWR) can determine the risk better than the public. If directed, dead birds should be double bagged and taken to the diagnostic lab for incineration if it is a species of concern. Please don’t bury them. Scavengers dig them up and spread the virus. People can get on the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food website for more good guidance.”  Also, please do not dispose of them in trash cans because other predators at the landfill or transfer facility may become infected.

Of course, use precautions by wearing gloves, etc., although it sounds like the spread of Avian Flu to humans is unlikely.

The town has limited resources so we are asking citizens to keep an eye out for sick birds, and we would appreciate your help in capturing, isolating, and contacting DWR at 801-476-2740 for disposal.   We would like to be kept aware of the data, so please let us know of any birds you dispose of by emailing mayor@huntsvilletown.com or leaving a message at 801-745-3420.

We are hopeful these cases are limited, but if the cases continue, we may need to organize and create a central disposal site.

As always, the most up to date information will be made available by signing up for our email and text notifications at HuntsvilleTown.com