Kennebunk is seen from Route 9 in this 2021 file photo. Credit: Linda Coan O'Kresik

KENNEBUNK, Maine — Beachgoers are being warned not to touch the dead and dying ducks that have been washing ashore on Kennebunk beaches.

The public is asked to report any ailing or dead ducks, which are likely afflicted with avian flu, to the Ocean Guards or the Community Service Officer on duty between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.

The town of Kennebunk says staff will work to remove the deceased or sick birds as needed.

dealing with the avian flu

During normal Ocean Guard hours, you can request assistance from any of the guards. After hours, the Sanford Dispatch can be reached via a non-emergency number at 207-324-9118. Local law enforcement will also respond to reports on the birds, but ask that people avoid using the 911 emergency number to report dead bird sightings.

Avian influenza, or bird flu, refers to a respiratory disease caused by infection with a type of influenza virus.

Avian flu viruses normally spread among wild water birds, like ducks and geese. These viruses can spread to domestic poultry, like chickens, ducks, geese and guinea hens.

Avian flu viruses do not normally make humans sick but human infections with avian flu viruses have occurred. People who have regular contact with poultry or wild birds are most at risk.