On Friday, September 16, City of Owen Sound staff notified the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) regarding health concerns of the bird and waterfowl population in the Harrison Park bird sanctuary. Representatives of CFIA responded to the site and took control of the bird sanctuary while performing tests to confirm the presence of Avian Influenza. Following confirmed positive test results of Avian Influenza (H5N1) on September 19, CFIA issued an Order to Dispose on September 22. The order relates to all domestic birds and waterfowl on site (approximately 95 birds and waterfowl). 

The CFIA attended the Park on the morning of September 22 and proceeded to humanely euthanize the birds and waterfowl subject to the order, save the six residential swans. With the Park’s bird sanctuary being open to wild birds, the CFIA is taking a proactive approach to preventing the disease from spreading any further.

The City submitted a special request to the CFIA to have the swans quarantined in a separate facility with ongoing monitoring for disease.  The Harrison Park swans are Swan at Harrison Parkdescendants of the original six swans gifted to then-Mayor Elias Lemon from King George V in 1912.  

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 to the agencies listed above;

-      Do not touch or feed wild birds by hand;

-      Clean backyard feeders and baths regularly using a weak solution of domestic bleach and water;

-      Separate domestic and wild birds where possible;

City staff continue to work with and take direction from the CFIA with respect to managing this disease outbreak

Information and links to additional resources are provided below:

More information about Avian Influenza

Canadian Wildlife Health Co-operative

City of Owen Sound dedicated webpage

source: media release, City of Owen Sound

photo: CFIA website



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