BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The energy company that operates the Conowingo Dam in Harford County has temporarily closed two hiking trails near Fisherman’s Park to help prevent the spread of deadly avian flu in the area.

Constellation Energy said it, along with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources and the US Department of Agriculture, have collected more than 100 black vulture carcasses near the entrance of Fishermen’s Park since mid-April.

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Several of the vultures found were tested by the Department of Natural Resources and were confirmed to have had avian flu.

The company said it works closely with state and federal agencies to protect the wild and domestic birds in the area, which include the area’s bald eagles.

Most of the dead birds were found near the entrance to the Fisherman’s Park parking lot on Shure’s Landing Road and near the trailhead to the Mason Dixon Trail. No dead birds have been found near the fishing wharf or Conowingo Dam, the company said.

The company is temporarily closing the following trails until further notice.:

  • The Mason Dixon trail from Fisherman’s Park to Shuresville Road (including the gravel parking area adjacent to the trail at Fisherman’s Park)
  • The Shure’s Landing Wildflower Trail (also known as the Lower Susquehanna Heritage Greenways Trail).
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The company said the public should avoid contact with birds, especially dead birds or birds that are acting erratically.

Avian flu is commonly spread by wild birds through their saliva, mucous and feces, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

While some bird species might not get sick as a result of these naturally occurring viruses, the CDC states, they can cause serious illness and death when it comes to other species.

Even though infections among people are rare, the agency says, it can happen when we come into contact with airborne droplets or particles of the virus or if we touch a contaminated surface and then touch our faces.

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CBS Baltimore Staff