By Jessica Albert

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — There are concerns across the country tonight about a very contagious and deadly variant of Bird Flu called H5N1.

That concern is clear at Fisherman’s Park, which overlooks the Conowingo Dam and is a popular bird-watching spot.

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“We just like to see them,” Debra Reyes of Harford County said. “It’s exciting when they fly right over your head. You know, that’s pretty cool.”

But the normal sights of the park have been obstructed by caution tape and warning signs.

“That was the first thing we noticed,” Reyes said. “When I saw all the red tape and I was looking at all the gates and I saw the gate closing the walkway.”

The energy company that operates the Conowingo Dam has closed two hiking trails near the park after more than 100 dead black vultures were found there. 

Experts believe the birds died from bird flu.

There is a new strain that is impacting wild birds called H5N1. The variant that is circulating in the wild bird population is highly contagious and is very deadly to domestic poultry.

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It has a very high mortality rate, above 90 percent,” Maryland Department of Agriculture Deputy Secretary Steve Connelly said.

WJZ spoke with the Deputy Secretary of the Maryland Department of Agriculture.

He said humans are at low risk for getting bird flu, but there is major concern about the state’s poultry industry.

“It would be very catastrophic,” Connelly said. “It would have fairly long-term impacts for everybody in the ‘ag’ industry.”

The Department of Agriculture is closely monitoring the spread of the flu.

At the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore, zoo employees are taking precautions by moving the penguins and other bird species indoors.

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The state is hoping the strain will pass without widespread infections.

Jessica Albert