DENVER (KDVR) — Cities across the Denver metro area and up and down the Front Range are seeing an uptick in reports of dead geese. 

On Tuesday, Westminster warned residents about dead geese being found near City Park and Big Dry Creek Trail. 

“The City has also received reports of residents walking on the frozen pond immediately west of Promenade Drive to help distressed geese. For your health and safety, please do not approach geese or walk on the frozen pond,” the social media post said. 

In an email to FOX31, a city spokesperson said 20 dead geese have been discovered since the weekend and another six had to be euthanized. 

“We are seeing an increase in the number of reported sick and dead birds right now, especially in geese,” Colorado Parks and Wildlife Deputy Regional Manager Shannon Schaller said. 

CPW attributes the deaths to the current outbreak of highly pathogenic avian flu. This is the same disease causing problems for domestic poultry flocks, which has led to soaring egg prices.

“When we first started seeing high path avian flu in Colorado in November and December in 2022 we were seeing it mostly in snow geese and in large numbers and in some cases up to a thousand birds that had died from the disease,” Schaller said. 

Currently, the disease is affecting Canada geese, which are commonly found in parks up and down the Front Range. According to Schaller, infected flocks are losing five to 20 birds at a time. CPW is now doing a surveillance program to try and pinpoint hotspots. 

“This is happening on a bigger scale,” Schaller said. “We’ve detected it across every county in the Front Range.”

In Denver, wildlife program administrator Vicki Vargas-Madrid says the outbreak is present but mild. 

“Our park staff are finding a goose here and there,” she said. “It might be every other day over the past few weeks.”

When dead or sick geese are discovered, animal control or park staff must wear protective equipment, collect the animal and dispose of it. Not every animal is tested for avian flu. 

“The best approach is to get these dead carcasses out of the population so that other wildlife do not get infected,” Vargas-Madrid said. 

Park visitors in Denver who encounter sick or dead birds should call 311. In the rest of Colorado, reports can be made directly with CPW regional offices. 

“Please don’t go near [sick or dead birds]. Don’t handle them. Don’t pick them up. The risk for humans from the CDC is low but we should always take precautionary measures when there’s a disease on the landscape,” Schaller said.