David Stallknecht, an adjunct professor in the department of infectious diseases and department of population health in the College of Veterinary Medicine, outlined some of the threats facing Georgia bald eagles in a recent article for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Wildlife officials in the state counted a record number of bald eagle nests in use this year, but those nests are at risk of a new virus.
An outbreak of bird flu threatens the bald eagle population that has been struggling to make a comeback. Stallknecht said the survey results of nests were encouraging, but that this strain of bird flu is particularly worrisome.
“Right now, we’re waiting and holding our breath to see what’s going to happen,” he said. “This one’s pretty much adapted to wild birds, and it’s spreading rapidly in wild bird populations.”
Officials will have to wait for the migration of waterfowl back to Georgia to know for sure how the virus will spread.