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East Coast Eiders hit hard by avian influenza and a request for hunters to take drakes only

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East Coast Eiders hit hard by avian influenza and a request for hunters to take drakes only
I missed it if anyone has posted about this yet. Last week Connecticut's Migratory Bird Program Leader sent out a request to not shoot the "brown" (young and hens) eiders this season, to help the eider population recover from getting hit hard by avian influenza this spring. It included an attachment, that I copied and pasted below:

Request for Connecticut Eider hunters to voluntary avoid shooting hens and young, brown eiders this season.

Following an unusual episode of mortality caused by avian influenza this spring, the Canadian Wildlife Service (CWS) anticipates a decline in the number of common eiders in the St. Lawrence Estuary in 2023 and beyond. Many of these birds migrate south to winter in southern New England.

In order not to further jeopardize the situation of the species, CWS is calling on the cooperation of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island hunters to:

? reduce, on a voluntary basis, their harvest of common eiders for the 2022-23 season

? refrain from harvesting female common eiders or young. Females and young are brown in color while males are white and black

? For about 20 years, the population of Common Eiders nesting in Qu?bec?s colonies in the St. Lawrence Estuary has been stable. One of the reasons the population is not increasing is that recruitment (percentage of young in the population) is probably just sufficient to replace adult mortality (from natural causes and hunting).

In the spring of 2022, an outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza (H5N1) struck at some of the largest eider colonies in the estuary, and a non-exhaustive count of carcasses recovered allowed CWS to estimate that between 5 and 15% of nesting females died. Many nests were abandoned by the females, and very few cr?ches (groupings of adult females with their broods) were observed in the estuary. As a result, CWS biologists expect the number of young birds for 2022 to be particularly low and the population to be lower in the coming years.

While daily bag for eiders in the Atlantic Flyway states is currently limited to no more than three of which only one can be a hen, we are also asking Connecticut hunters to also voluntarily refrain from shooting ?brown? eider.

Southern New England is the wintering terminus for many eiders breeding in Canada. It is irresponsible to ask Canadian hunters to forgo harvesting hens and young birds only to have them shot when they arrive here.

In order to allow time for eiders to recover from the recent A.I. outbreak (the same one that decimated the Northeast poultry industry and caused egg prices to skyrocket) we are asking our responsible waterfowl hunters to also pass on the hens and young eiders that cross in front of their barrels this year.


Just one more thing lumped on our North East sea duck population.


Scott

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Re: East Coast Eiders hit hard by avian influenza and a request for hunters to take drakes only In reply to
WOW! The eider population didn't need this hit.
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A LOT OF MEMORIES IN A MAN'S STOOL........
Duck hunting without a dog is just shooting
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Re: East Coast Eiders hit hard by avian influenza and a request for hunters to take drakes only In reply to
This seems like something where the federal agencies in both states should be sending consistent messages to all of the Eastern Flyway states and provinces in the eider migration and winter range. I assume its too late to change regulations, but it seems like there should be consistent messaging if agencies agree it makes sense to voluntarily restrict hen harvest.

Only thing I could find on the web about this was here from Canadian Wildlife Service. https://www.canada.ca/...duction-in-take.html

Anybody have links to anything on the US side of the border?

"At first blush I am tempted to conclude that a satisfactory hobby must be in large degree useless, inefficient, laborious, or irrelevant."
— Aldo Leopold
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Re: East Coast Eiders hit hard by avian influenza and a request for hunters to take drakes only In reply to
I received this notice from CT and RI. Can't recall if NY also sent it. Seems like the news is at least getting around
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Re: East Coast Eiders hit hard by avian influenza and a request for hunters to take drakes only In reply to
Thank you Scott for posting this.
It seems like we would have had a lower limit if the mangers had been able to know this data when they set the season.
Its always a good day down here when we get to see a full plumage male in the waves.
Bob
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Re: East Coast Eiders hit hard by avian influenza and a request for hunters to take drakes only In reply to
Not sure how long it's been on the website or what additional outreach is going out to those who guide or can otherwise be "targeted" as eider hunters, but just got an email version of this message from Maine DIFW, asking hunters to voluntarily abstain from killing hen eiders.

Commenting mostly to bring this back to the top for those of us on the East Coast who will soon be back in sea-duck mode. (Not me--don't have the boat or decoys.)

https://www.maine.gov/...avian-influenza.html

"At first blush I am tempted to conclude that a satisfactory hobby must be in large degree useless, inefficient, laborious, or irrelevant."
— Aldo Leopold
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Re: East Coast Eiders hit hard by avian influenza and a request for hunters to take drakes only In reply to
Got this email from NJ DFG

Dear New Jersey Waterfowl Hunter:
Our records indicate that you obtained a Harvest Information Program certification for hunting migratory birds during at least one of the last two hunting seasons. NJ Fish and Wildlife wants to make waterfowl hunters aware of an ongoing outbreak of High Pathogenic Avian Influenza throughout North America.
What is it?
Avian influenza is a naturally occurring virus. Type A viruses (referred to as avian influenza or ?bird flu?) cause infection in birds and can also infect mammals. The virus can affect many wild bird species, such as waterfowl (ducks, geese, and swans), gulls, terns, shorebirds, and raptors. Wild birds that live in aquatic habitats tend to be natural reservoir hosts for the virus. Birds have different vulnerabilities to avian influenza; some die quickly after infection whereas others can carry the virus yet exhibit no symptoms.
In the winter of 2021-22, High Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) cases were detected throughout the US and Canada. Detections of dead and infected birds continued during the summer as well, but detections are increasing again during the fall migration. Ducks, geese, and swans are currently being detected throughout the Atlantic Flyway indicating this outbreak is ongoing.
Should hunters be concerned?
Though the risk of transmission from birds to humans is very low, it is not zero. Hunters should take reasonable protective precautions when handling harvested waterfowl:
  1. Harvest only healthy-looking wild birds.
  2. Do not eat, drink, or smoke while cleaning birds.
  3. Field dress game outdoors or in a well-ventilated area.
  4. Use rubber gloves when cleaning birds.
  5. Wash hands with soap and water or alcohol wipes after dressing birds.
  6. Hunters who interact with backyard poultry flocks or pet birds should be especially careful. These hunters should change clothing, including footwear, before interacting with domestic birds.
  7. Clean all tools and surfaces immediately afterward; use hot soapy water, then disinfect with a 10% chlorine bleach solution.
  8. Cook game meat thoroughly (165?F) to kill disease organisms.

Reporting Dead Birds
If hunters observe more than 3 dead ducks, geese, swans, shorebirds, or raptors in the same general area, please report to the US Department of Agriculture-Wildlife Services at 908-735-5654 or to NJDEP at 1-877-WARNDEP.
For More Information
See the following NJDEP and US Department of Agriculture-Wildlife Services webpages for more information:
https://dep.nj.gov/njfw/highly-pathogenic-avian-influenza/
https://www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis/ourfocus/animalhealth/animal-disease-information/avian/avian-influenza/hpai-home/hpai
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Re: East Coast Eiders hit hard by avian influenza and a request for hunters to take drakes only In reply to
So wear gloves AND wash hands after you're done? Seems redundant. Maybe I'm ignorant.
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Re: East Coast Eiders hit hard by avian influenza and a request for hunters to take drakes only In reply to
Just a guess, but your bare hands may become contaminated while removing the gloves.

Like when a surgeon scrubs up prior to putting gloves on.

Rick