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Avian flu is the suspected cause of death for a great horned owl family of five nesting near Lake Nokomis in south Minneapolis. 

The Raptor Center at the University of Minnesota reported the deaths Thursday afternoon. 

"We are heartbroken at The Raptor Center to see the presumed loss of an entire great horned owl family due to HPAI and unfortunately this is not the first one we have responded to during this outbreak," the center announced on Facebook. "Nearly every day we are admitting patients that come in suffering from the severe symptoms of HPAI." 

The center said it received reports on Tuesday and Wednesday of three great horned owls in distress and admitted the owls into the triage hospital. 

All three owls were suffering from extreme neurological symptoms and one died suddenly, the center reported. The two remaining youngsters were euthanized. 

Today, after all three young owls tested positive for Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI), the center received additional calls about two adult great horned owls found dead in the same area. 

The owls are presumed to be the parents of the three youngsters and also presumed to have died of the avian flu, the center announced. 

According to the University, HPAI is 90-100% fatal in raptors. 

On Wednesday, The Raptor Center’s Executive Director and Veterinary Epidemiologist Dr. Victoria Hall wrote a post recommending Minnesotans temporarily discontinue the use of bird feeders and bird baths as the disease spreads. 

Anyone who finds a raptor in need is asked to call The Raptor Center at 612-624-4745. 

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