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Park Service: Don't touch dead or dying birds at ENC beaches

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(Image credit: NPS photo/Morgan Barnes)
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A flock of Red Knots (a type of sandpiper) in flight along the shore.

Beware of sick or dying birds on the beach.

Officials with Cape Lookout National Seashore say it’s bird migration season and they are seeing the usual large flocks of migrating winter seabirds in and around the seashore.

There is normally some die off associated with these winter flocks due to stresses from migration and diseases such as avian flu or the more infectious highly pathogenic avian influenza, and rangers say these viruses occur naturally among wild aquatic birds like ducks, geese, gulls, terns, cormorants, and pelicans. Migrating shorebirds such as plovers and sandpipers can also catch these avian diseases.

NPS officials say they are seeing dead and dying birds at roosting or congregation sites throughout the seashore, and they caution anyone that comes come across a dead or dying bird should not touch it.

They ask people to leave them in place, take a photo, get a location and report the findings to the park.