Posted by: Sandy Steinman | July 23, 2022

Avian Influenza U[dates

from CornellLab of Ornithology

Avian Influenza Outbreak: Should You Take Down Your Bird Feeders? July 20, 2022

Many people are concerned about the 2022 outbreak of avian influenza, or bird flu, that is affecting domestic poultry, waterfowl, raptors, and some shorebirds in the U.S. and Canada. Because the current strain (H5N1) causes heavy losses to poultry, it is referred to as highly pathogenic avian influenza, or HPAI. Note that transmission of avian influenza from birds to humans is very rare, according to the Centers for Disease Control. As of July 22, one person has tested positive for avian influenza and developed mild symptoms, in Colorado.

There has been confusion about whether people should take down their feeders to stop the spread of this disease among wild birds. We checked with Dr. Julianna Lenoch, who directs the USDA APHIS National Wildlife Disease Program, and we’ve compiled the following summaries of key points regarding HPAI, especially among songbirds and other feeder visitors.

Low Risk of Avian Flu to Songbirds

There is currently very low risk of an outbreak among wild songbirds, and no official recommendation to take down feeders unless you also keep domestic poultry, according to the National Wildlife Disease Program. We do always recommend that you clean bird feeders and birdbaths regularly as a way to keep many kinds of diseases at bay.

Read more Avian Influenza Outbreak: Should You Take Down Your Bird Feeders? 

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