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State game regulators ask hunters to avoid certain sea ducks this fall because of the avian flu

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Dr. F. Eugene Hester / U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
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via flickr
Waterfowl hunters dressed in camouflage aim at a flock of birds in the saltwater marshes at Swanquarter National Wildlife Refuge in North Carolina. Many national wildlife refuges permit waterfowl hunting as a traditional recreational use of renewable natural resources.

State game regulators are asking hunters to not target particular type of sea duck this season because of an outbreak of avian flu that is putting pressure on the birds.

The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife says that up to 15% of nesting female eiders have died this year because of an outbreak in Canada, potentially impacting the population for several years. Because of that, the agency is asking hunters to avoid shooting both female and immature eiders this fall.

Many of the birds migrate south and spend the winter along the Northeast coast.

The department says male eiders have white and black plumage, while females and juveniles are brown.