The Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Wildlife has confirmed highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in two bald eagles and a herring gull in northwest Ohio. The results were detected by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Veterinary Services Laboratory.
The herring gull was confirmed HPAI positive in Erie County on Wednesday, March 9. The first bald eagle was confirmed HPAI positive on Friday, March 11, and the second on Tuesday, March 15. Both bald eagles came from Ottawa County. All three birds are deceased. Additional tests are pending.
It was almost bound to happen as we had been warned that it was coming. HPAI has been detected in several states in recent months. The Division of Wildlife is working closely with the Ohio Department of Agriculture, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and other state and federal agencies to monitor HPAI. The virus does not present an immediate public health concern but avoid handling sick or dead birds as a precaution
All Ohioans can report sick or dead wild birds suspected of HPAI at 800-WILDLIFE (945-3543) or wildohio.gov. The following bird species should be reported: Any raptor, such as a bald eagle. Multiple waterfowl, such as geese or ducks. Any other large congregation of sick or dead birds.
HPAI occurs naturally in bird populations and is monitored closely by the U.S. Geological Survey. Native Ohio birds such as shorebirds, raptors, and waterfowl are vulnerable to HPAI. Domestic chickens and turkeys are also vulnerable to HPAI. The virus is transmitted from bird to bird through feeding and interactions. More information about HPAI is available at aphis.usda.gov.
• Ohio anglers now have access to registration information and results about fishing tournaments across the state, according to the ODNR Division of Wildlife. The new online application is available at www.fishtournaments.ohiodnr.gov.
Fishing tournaments are popular at many ODNR lakes. Anyone can access the schedule of upcoming tournaments without logging into the system. Anglers or other recreational users can find out when and where events are scheduled by filtering the list by waterbody (such as a lake, reservoir, or river), name, county, species (including black bass, crappie, and muskellunge), or a range of dates.
The fishing tournament system will allow directors to schedule events and view information about when and where they are currently scheduled. It will also expedite the review and approval process for requests at ODNR sites. Directors are required to create an OH|ID account. Events may be scheduled once an account has been approved by ODNR staff.
Tournaments held at ODNR access areas are required to be scheduled using the online system. Directors will be notified by email as soon as their event has been reviewed and approved by ODNR. The approval email replaces hard-copy daily use permits. Scheduling an event involves selecting the access area of interest, providing basic information about the start and end times, number of anticipated boats, and preferred fish species.
After an event has been completed, directors can immediately report the results. ODNR is requesting basic information about the number of participants, number of boats, and catch details. These results will allow Division of Wildlife fisheries biologists to better understand the amount of tournament activity in Ohio and angler success. Annual results will be summarized at the conclusion of each season.
• With spring finally arriving, the ODNR is reminding Ohioans that warmer weather does not mean warmer water. Water temperatures in lakes and streams are still very cold, and even the best swimmers could experience exhaustion and symptoms of hypothermia in just minutes.
Nearly 90% of boating fatalities are due to drowning, and nearly half of those are attributed to the effects of immersion in cold water. Water cooler than the normal body temperature of 98.6 degrees causes heat loss. Cold water will cool a body 25 times faster than cold air of the same temperature.
Wearing a life jacket while boating is as important as wearing a seat belt while driving. A properly fitted life jacket will keep a person’s airway out of the water- which is most important when the gasping reflex begins. Heart rate and blood pressure increase dramatically, increasing the risk for cardiac arrest. The victim may hyperventilate and find it difficult to get air into the lungs.
ODNR also warns Ohioans about the possibility of high water. Rain in the spring months will create high and swift moving currents in lakes, rivers, and streams. Higher water can create and conceal hazards like downed trees, eroded banks, and other underwater obstacles.
Until next time, Good Hunting and Good Fishing!
Ken Parrott is an Agricultural Science teacher with Northmor High School.