Residents urged to avoid touching shorebirds

Jun 23, 2022

Dartmouth’s Board of Health is urging residents to avoid touching any sick, injured, or deceased birds.

The warning comes after hundreds of dead birds were found on the coast of Martha’s Vineyard last week.

No diagnosis or cause of death has been established, but state environmental officials suspect it is a strain of avian flu.

Impacted seabirds include, but are not limited to, seagulls, ducks, terns, and cormorants.

“Although the risk is low, direct contact with infected birds or heavily contaminated environments can sometimes spread the disease to people,” the Massachusetts Department of Fish and Game said in a statement. “People are urged not to handle or feed any birds suspected of being infected.”

Residents are asked to report those birds to the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources Division of Animal Health at (617) 626-1795.

Reports can also be filed online at