Don’t touch the birds: 2 goslings with possible bird flu in Columbia Park

KENNEWICK, Wash. — The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) has presumptively tested two goslings for bird flu at the Children’s Fishing Pond in Columbia Park.

Officials say they’re awaiting results from a federal laboratory before positively confirming the birds have the highly contagious avian influenza, as per WDFW protocol.

RELATED: Bird flu found in western Washington

“In the meantime, we assume we have some positive avian influenza cases,” said Staci Lehman, Communications Manager with WDFW.

“We have a biologist in the area who has stopped by several times and has recovered several carcasses,” Lehman said. “And we’ve been getting a lot of reports of dead or sick birds, so we know it’s a large number. We don’t know for sure how many.”

Cases of avian influenza have been reported in several areas around Washington State in the last couple weeks, but this is the first preemptive case in the greater Tri-Cities region.

RELATED: Washington officials ‘concerned’ about possible spread of bird flu in the state

Unfortunately, there is no treatment for the avian influenza. Infected birds cannot be saved, so taking them to a veterinarian will not help them — in fact, you could just be spreading the disease to new areas.

“There’s not a way to treat avian influenza and we need to let nature run it’s course. We know it’s hard to do and we understand that,” Lehman said. “If you do box birds up, and maybe take them to a vet or something like that, then you could spread the virus to a new area, and we want to keep it as confined as possible.”

If you see a sick or dead wild bird, the best thing you can do is contact the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.

For those with domestic flocks, WDFW suggests keeping them sheltered or indoors as best as possible right now. Keep flocks inside a coop and away from wild birds.

READ: Kennewick athletic director a ‘hero’ for saving a student’s life