Information about Avian Influenza

From Stanley Temple, UW Madison Beers-Bascom Professor Emeritus in Conservation:

Avian influenza is most easily transmitted when healthy birds come into close contact with a sick or dead bird. Although it doesn’t happen that often, the concentrations of birds at bird feeders can potentially provide the close proximity that can lead to an infected bird spreading the virus to other birds using the feeders. Especially if someone sees a sick or dead bird at their feeders (or simply want to take an extra precautionary measure), they can certainly take their feeders down, disinfect the feeders with a 10% bleach solution, and not put the feeders back out until the influenza risk has subsided. But that’s not to be taken as a blanket recommendation. Avian influenza outbreaks typically peak in late winter and early spring and subside by late spring and early summer. People maintaining bird feeders can watch for additional information about the course of the current outbreak that will let them know when the risk has subsided. If someone finds a sick or dead bird at their feeder, only handle it with gloves on, and dispose of it in a sealed plastic bag. You may also want to email DNRWildlifeSwitchboard@wi.gov or leave a voicemail message at 608-267-0866 to see if wildlife health authorities might want the specimen for analysis.

But, what about Songbirds?

From Wisconsin DNR:

Based on research findings, songbirds are considered a low-risk species for infection when in their natural environment, but care should be taken to minimize wild bird and domestic bird interactions in general to protect wild birds and domestic birds from transmitting diseases to each other. At this time, we are not recommending that people take down their bird feeders. However, if waterfowl are attracted to their bird feeding sites, we recommend discontinuing those feeders during this HPAI event.

Other Avian Influenza Resources: 
 
DATCP resources regarding the Avian Influenza

 

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