Avian flu has taken a toll on dozens of wild bird species in 42 states

The spread of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) across North America in 2022 has taken an overall toll on wild birds, according to federal data.

Already the number of birds dead from the virus is more than 10 times greater than documented in any other avian flu outbreak.

But as with many wildlife diseases, the impacts of HPAI are difficult to assess as wild birds are often dispersed and die never to be found.

A sobering exception was discovered in early June by researchers visiting Caspian tern breeding sites in Wisconsin.

Where they expected to find colonies of the state endangered bird brooding eggs, they instead saw windrows of dead adults.

The two islands off Door County — Gravel Island and Hat Island — had 1,221 dead Caspian terns.

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