As most of us know, a particularly virulent H5N1 avian flu is sweeping most of the planet. “Hundreds of thousands if not millions” of [wild] birds have died, and the virus has infected some mammals (seals, foxes, mink). In this article (https://www.vox.com/science/23709615/avian-influenza-h5n1-wild-birds) on VOX, an ecologist named Nichola Hill is quoted:
“'Birders are ‘the eyes and ears of this panzootic,’” she said, “and I don’t think they’re being harnessed enough.” People are used to photographing beautiful wildlife on their phones and uploading it to platforms like iNaturalist. But right now, it’s more important that they document dead birds, she said. (iNaturalist actually has a webpage exactly for this purpose. If you find a dead wild bird and are not sure what to do, check out this one-pager from the USDA.)
NB: The page on iNaturalist is actually “Beached Birds”, for documenting waterfowl and shorebird remains. Is there another page for terrestrial species mortality?
I haven’t noticed dead birds around Las Cruces, but will document any I find.
I think this “Dead Birds” project has the widest scope: https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/dead-birds
However, you may also be interested in this project given your location: https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/southwest-avian-mortality-project
@wthompson23: Thanks. I wish the VOX article had linked to the more general page.
I’m certainly not the one in “the most of us” group cause I’ve never heard about any problems with birds and haven’t see a single dead one for a while (outside those eaten by goshawks).
Other than dead birds you also can use https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/wildlife-diseases-morbidity-and-mortality
Some places aren’t seeing much avian influenza, others are. That’s why you should check with local wildlife centers regarding whether you should put feeders out or not.
I’m glad that there’s not a lot of birds with avian influenza where you live!
Depending on the test results, this could also lead to the first-for-iNat observation of West Nile Virus. Currently, the entire Genus Flavivirus is represented by exactly two observations, both of Dengue Virus.
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