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Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks advise caution when handling wild birds.

A female black-headed grosbeak banded at Spring Meadow Lake.
Birds sit perched on a telephone line

Bird hunters are advised to be aware of a deadly disease cropping up in wild birds.

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks report new cases in Montana of highly pathogenic avian influenza or H-P-A-I.

The virus is extremely infectious and highly fatal to domestic poultry, including chickens, ducks and turkeys and to some wild birds.

FWP is continuing to test wild birds that display symptoms consistent with HPAI infection.

However, some waterfowl species carry and transmit the virus without developing symptoms.

The Centers for Disease Control considers the risk of HPAI spreading to humans to be very low, but it’s still recommended that hunters take precautions when handling harvested game birds and not touch a sick or dead bird.

For a list of those precautions when processing or handling wild game, visit, or visit the USGS website at

Orlinda Worthington hosts “Morning Edition” weekdays on YPR. She brings 20 years of experience as Montana television news anchor, producer, and reporter.