Birds at Owen Sound sanctuary euthanized due to Avian Influenza

Swan at Harrison Park

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) humanely euthanized all 96 domestic birds and waterfowl at the bird sanctuary at Harrison Park in Owen Sound.

Park Manager Adam Parsons said the order came after tests confirmed the birds had Avian Influezna. The birds had been showing symptoms of the virus a week ago.

“CFIA attended Harrison Park on Saturday, September 17th. At that time, they issued a an order to quarantine and took some sample testing. On September 22, they issued order an order to dispose, and carried out that order,” he explained

However, he said they are trying to save The Harrison Park swans which are descendants of the original six swans given to then-Mayor Elias Lemon from King George V in 1912.

“And we did apply for special permission to rehouse our six swans with royal blood lineage, linked to a donation of Royal swans in 1912,” he added.

They were granted permission to quarantine those birds in a different location for a 14 day period and monitor for symptoms.

Avian Influenza (AI) is a disease caused by a virus that primarily infects domestic poultry and wild birds such as geese, ducks, and shore birds. Highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) H5N1 is a strain known to kill both wild birds and commercial poultry. It does not easily cross from birds to humans and the current strain has been listed as a lower than normal concern for spread to people.

If residents locate a wild bird that is deceased, they are encouraged to report it through the Canadian Wildlife Health Co-operative’s online reporting tool or by phone at 1-866-673-4781. The Ontario Wildlife Emergency Hotline can also be reached by phone at 1-800-567-2033.

To help prevent the spread of Avian Influenza, residents are encouraged to report sick or dead birds, clean birdfeeders and avoid touching or feeding wild birds by hand.