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The circling flu: Since December we have been monitoring the expanding continental outbreak of avian flu. We saw the news reports about poultry die-offs from Canada and the Lower 48, but could not picture how terribly this disease was being expressed in deltas, fields and ponds across the north. Partly this was because of the lack of video recordings of birds with advance symptoms of the illness. So far we have received six first-person observations from LEO members about unusual bird behavior. This post from Hooper Bay was the first with video showing the head shaking and circling that has been repeatedly described. The outbreak, now confirmed by about 30 test results, has corresponded with the start of the spring bird hunt and egg harvest. This has resulted in a lot of great observations but also concerns about about food safety. There is a wide range of species affected and evidence now that the virus is passing to red fox. In the past few weeks confirmed cases in wild birds have also been reported in the Yukon Territory and as far away as Norway. Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) although very serious for birds is very low risk for people. In guidance provided by the USFWS, State of Alaska, and the Alaska Migratory Bird Co-Management Council the following advice has been provided for bird hunters and gathers: do not harvest game that appears sick or are found dead; wear rubber or disposable latex gloves when handling and cleaning game; when done handling game wash hands thoroughly with soap and disinfectant; disinfect knives, equipment and surfaces that were in contact with game; do not eat, drink or smoke when handling game; and cook game (and eggs) thoroughly to an internal temperature of 165 degrees (F). We thank all of the local observers and state, tribal and federal officials who have assisted in monitoring and responding to this event. Mike Brubaker, Editor

Newtok, Alaska, United States
Bryan Daniels, Angela Matz, Andrew Ramey and Eric Taylor / LEO Network / June 1, 2022

"Since about May 25, crews have been seeing multiple species showing what we believe are signs of highly pathogenic avian influenza. The signs we are seeing widespread is a headshaking that we equate to "getting the cobwebs out", like a person may do when they first wake up. This behavior occurs regularly every couple minutes. This behavior has been observed in: black brant, cackling geese, bar-tailed godwits, dunlin, lapland longspurs, spectacled eiders, emperor geese, greater white-fronted geese, sabines gulls, glaucous gulls, and red-necked phalaropes."

Read post on the LEO Network



Golovin, Alaska, United States
Gay Sheffield, Kimberlee Beckmen, Angela Matz, Andrew Ramey and Eric Taylor / LEO Network / May 30, 2022

Over the past five days there have been increasing reports of unusual behavior in a variety of bird species including brant goose, snow goose, white-fronted goose, and Canada goose.

Read post on the LEO Network



Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada
Anna Desmarais / MSN.com / May 27, 2022

The Yukon is the latest place to be hit with avian flu cases as an outbreak continues to spread across the country. Officials from the department of environment said in a press release Friday that two waterfowl carcasses in southern Yukon tested positive for the H5N1 virus strand. The Yukon government is asking residents to report sightings of sick or dead birds to their TIPP line at 1-800-661-0525.

Read article on MSN.com



Golovin, Alaska, United States
Angela Matz and Andrew Ramey / LEO Network / May 26, 2022

Video shows unusual circling behavior of a brant goose filmed by a local hunter near Golovin, Alaska. Although the cause is unknown, this type of behavior is according to USGS, "highly suggestive" of an infection with Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI).

Read post on the LEO Network



Unalaska, Alaska, United States
KINY / May 26, 2022

Most likely foxes become infected from feeding on deceased birds. In the past month, HPAI has been detected in red foxes in Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Ontario in areas where the virus was also detected in wild birds.

Read article on KINY



Vardø, Troms and Finnmark County, Norway
Norwegian Veterinary Institute / May 19, 2022

During February and March, six new findings of highly pathogenic bird flu virus (HPAI) were made in sea eagles in the counties of Møre og Romsdal, Trøndelag, Nordland and Troms and Finnmark. Thus far, eight reliable detections have been made in sea eagles in Norway this bird flu season, which is unique in the European context.

Read article on Norwegian Veterinary Institute



Noatak, Alaska, United States
Jeffrey Luther / LEO Network / May 23, 2022

Noatak has lost 19' of river bank since May 19th. Now the road to the community gravel source is failing.

Read post on the LEO Network



The Northern Climate Observer is published by the Center for Climate and Health. We track news coverage from across the circumpolar north and provide readers with a curated roundup of climate change related events. Thank you for reading our newsletter and for paying attention to our changing world.

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The Northern Climate Observer is published weekly by the Center for Climate and Health. We track news coverage from across the circumpolar north and provide readers with a curated roundup of climate change related events.

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