A large number of crows in Charlottetown are found sick or dead in the Victoria Park area, more than 200 dead or desperately ill birds have been found by the local residents.
Maryrose Carson, who lives two blocks from the waterfront park, said Tuesday as she recalled finding dozens of dead birds on Jan. 1, “It was pretty gruesome, We had no idea what had caused it.”
Megan Jones, an assistant professor at Atlantic Veterinary College and Atlantic regional director of the Canadian Wildlife Health Cooperative, says the large number of crows found in a short time is unusual.
Jones said mortality at this time of year happens regularly, but a few dozen would be the norm.
“We want to make sure it’s not the beginning of a bigger thing,” Jones said.
“Really, any dead crow is not ideal. We want them all to be happy and healthy, so we always try to investigate as best we can. But these numbers this year were certainly greater, and in a very short time, a lot crows dead. “
Jones said it is not possible to examine each crow individually, but sample selection has shown similar symptoms: abnormal gastrointestinal tract – with disease affecting their intestines – and inflammation of other organs, such as the liver and spleen.
She said tests have confirmed it is not bird flu. And the suspicion is that it may be a type of reovirus, something that has previously caused crow death. She said it is important to continue working until a source of the deaths is confirmed, in part to help prevent other problems.
“Some of the viruses and other diseases that affect wildlife can affect livestock such as poultry,” Jones said.
“And it can have commercial consequences. We’ve all heard of potato warts. So we know that diseases can affect agriculture. And then there are also lots of diseases that can also affect people that animals can carry.”
Jones expects to know more this week.
For people who encounter a sick or dead crow, she has some advice.
“We would always recommend that people never handle dead animals without gloves,” Jones said.
“And for live, sick animals, we would never recommend contacting them. You do not want to stress them. I would contact the game clinic at the teaching hospital here, and they can advise on whether the animal should be or not. Seen and how best to grabs it and transports it. “