MORGAN COUNTY, Colo. (KDVR) — Wildlife officials are urging the public to stay away from dead or sickly birds after a positive bird flu result among snow geese in Morgan County.

Snow geese have been reportedly displaying symptoms of the highly pathogenic avian influenza in the last week, according to Colorado Parks and Wildlife. After an investigation, samples showed a positive result for the virus.

“Now that we’ve had a presumptive positive test, we’re asking members of the public who find dead snow geese in Morgan County to presume it’s highly pathogenic avian influenza,” CPW Wildlife Pathologist Karen Fox said in a news release. “CPW and the Colorado Department of Agriculture are asking the public not to touch any dead birds they find.”

CPW said “it is critical to report sick birds or unusual bird deaths.”

Bird flu symptoms among geese, wild birds

CPW warned that wild birds can transmit bird flu to domestic poultry and warned of the symptoms that can mean an infection.

“Some of the snow geese in Morgan County have shown signs of HPAI that include being too comfortable around humans, stumbling when trying to walk, and shaking,” CPW Area Wildlife Manager Todd Schmidt said in the release. “But birds can be infected and not show any signs at all.”

For wildlife species including swans, diving ducks, gulls, geese, grebes, raptors, vultures, cranes and terns, typical symptoms can include swimming in circles, head tilt and lack of coordination, CPW said.

For turkeys, grouse and quail, symptoms will be more similar to poultry and can include swelling of the head, diarrhea, moving slowly, ruffled feathers, respiratory signs and not eating.

Suspicious sickness or death among birds should be reported to the State Veterinarian’s Office at 303-869-9130.