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Home » Avian Influenza Outbreak: Ought to You Take Down Your Fowl Feeders?

Avian Influenza Outbreak: Ought to You Take Down Your Fowl Feeders?

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Initially revealed April 20, 2022. Up to date October 14, 2022.

Many individuals are involved in regards to the 2022 outbreak of avian influenza, or hen flu, that affects home poultry, waterfowl, raptors, and a few shorebirds within the U.S. and Canada. As a result of the present pressure (H5N1) causes heavy losses to poultry, it’s known as extremely pathogenic avian influenza, or HPAI. Word that transmission of avian influenza from birds to people could be very uncommon, in line with the Facilities for Illness Management. As of October 14, one individual within the U.S. has examined constructive for avian influenza and developed delicate signs, in Colorado in April 2022.

There was confusion about whether or not individuals ought to take down their feeders to cease the unfold of this illness amongst wild birds. We checked with Dr. Julianna Lenoch, who directs the USDA APHIS Nationwide Wildlife Illness Program, and we’ve compiled the next summaries of key factors concerning HPAI, particularly amongst songbirds and different feeder guests.

Low Threat of Avian Flu to Songbirds

There’s presently very low danger of an outbreak amongst wild songbirds, and no official advice to take down feeders until you additionally preserve home poultry, in line with the Nationwide Wildlife Illness Program. We do all the time advocate that you just clear hen feeders and birdbaths usually as a strategy to preserve many sorts of ailments at bay.

We additionally all the time advocate that you just comply with any suggestions put out by your state authorities, even in circumstances the place that recommendation conflicts with ours. We are going to replace this web page because the scenario develops.

How do we all know songbirds are at low danger?

  • USDA APHIS has a robust, multiyear surveillance program that routinely samples wild birds, together with flocks of songbirds (and different species equivalent to Rock Pigeons and Mourning Doves which can be usually round people), for the presence of avian influenza. Thus far in 2022, they’ve detected the HPAI pressure in 2,930 wild birds, with 53 detections in songbirds (see beneath for a listing of species). Newest information in regards to the outbreak.
  • Avian influenza doesn’t have an effect on all sorts of birds equally. The “extremely pathogenic” a part of the time period HPAI refers particularly to the severity of the illness in poultry, not essentially in different hen species. For instance, waterfowl usually carry and transmit hen flu, however hardly ever get sick from the illness (even from HPAI strains). Raptors are far more delicate to the illness than waterfowl. Home poultry are extraordinarily vulnerable to HPAI and unfold the illness simply, resulting in as much as 100% mortality of affected flocks.
  • Songbirds are a lot much less possible than waterfowl to contract avian influenza and fewer prone to shed massive quantities of virus, that means they don’t transmit the illness simply. (See Shriner and Root 2020 for an in depth evaluation within the journal Viruses.)
  • In keeping with a separate research within the Journal of Wildlife Ailments, “…though passerines and terrestrial wild birds could have a restricted function within the epidemiology of IAV [avian influenza A viruses] when related to contaminated home poultry or different aberrant hosts, there isn’t any proof supporting their involvement as pure reservoirs for IAV.” (Slusher et al. 2014)
  • For these causes, it’s unlikely that hen feeders will contribute to an outbreak amongst songbirds.

If songbirds are at low danger, why are individuals who preserve poultry suggested to take down their hen feeders?

  • The principle concern with songbirds is the possibility {that a} uncommon particular person may transmit an an infection to poultry. This can be a concern as a result of poultry are a lot extra weak than songbirds to HPAI.
  • The important thing intervention is to maintain songbirds away from poultry; it’s much less vital to maintain songbirds away from one another.
  • When you’ve got a yard poultry flock, these are crucial steps to take:
    (click on for full information on these biosecurity measures from USDA APHIS)
  • As a secondary measure, USDA APHIS recommends for poultry homeowners to take down wild hen feeders or preserve them nicely away from their captive flock

Should you preserve nest packing containers:

Avian influenza is simply hardly ever transmitted to people, in line with the USDA, however nonetheless our NestWatch venture all the time advises good hygiene and extremely recommends that folks put on disposable gloves and/or wash their palms totally after checking nest packing containers. Most birds that use nest packing containers are songbirds, that are at low danger for contracting or transmitting avian influenza. Should you monitor waterfowl or raptor nests (e.g., Wooden Duck, Frequent Merganser, Canada Goose, American Kestrel, Barred Owl), we propose you put on gloves, change or wash gloves and disinfect gear between nest packing containers, put on a masks when cleansing out nest packing containers, and alter garments and footwear earlier than visiting any home poultry.

In case you are a wildlife rehabilitator:

Wildlife rehabilitators ought to take precautions when accepting sick birds in order that they don’t inadvertently introduce HPAI to the remainder of their sufferers. Right here’s additional steerage for rehabbers, from USDA APHIS. Rehabbers in New York State are additionally inspired to contact the Cornell Wildlife Well being Lab for extra data.

What to do in case you discover a sick or lifeless hen:

Keep away from dealing with sick or lifeless birds. As an alternative, name your state wildlife well being company; they’ll decide reason for demise and ship the hen to the suitable lab for testing. Moreover, preserve pets (together with pet birds) away from sick or lifeless wild birds.

Further Sources:

Wild hen species with HPAI detections in 2022

Up to date October 14, 2022. Complete variety of detections in wild birds: 2,930. Detections in songbirds: 53. See 2022 Detections of Extremely Pathogenic Avian Influenza in Wild Birds for contemporary detections.


American Crow (31 complete: 1, California; 1, Massachusetts; 1, Michigan; 2, Minnesota; 19, North Dakota; 1, Washington; 6, Wisconsin)
American Robin (1, North Dakota)
Black-billed Magpie (3, Wyoming)
Frequent Grackle (1, Montana)
Frequent Raven (13 complete: 9, Alaska; 1, Minnesota; 1, Montana; 1, Washington; 1, Wisconsin)
Darkish-eyed Junco (1, Minnesota)
Fish Crow (1, New York)
Purple-winged Blackbird (1, Michigan)
Tree Swallow (1, Alaska)


American Black Duck
American Kestrel
American White Pelican
American Wigeon
Arctic Tern
Bald Eagle
Barred Owl
Black Skimmer
Black Vulture
Black-legged Kittiwake
Blue-winged Teal
Broad-winged Hawk
Brown Pelican
California Gull
Canada Goose
Caspian Tern
Cinnamon Teal
Frequent Eider
Frequent Goldeneye
Frequent Loon
Frequent Tern
Cooper’s Hawk
Cormorant sp.
Crested Caracara
Double-crested Cormorant
Duck sp.
Eared Grebe
Jap Screech-Owl
Glaucous Gull
Nice Black-backed Gull
Nice Blue Heron
Nice Egret
Nice Horned Owl
Larger White-fronted Goose
Inexperienced-winged Teal
Gull sp.
Harris’s Hawk
Hawk sp.
Heron sp.
Herring Gull
Hooded Merganser
Horned Grebe
Laughing Gull
Lesser Scaup
Merganser sp.
Muscovy Duck
Mute Swan
Neotropic Cormorant
Northern Gannet
Northern Harrier
Northern Pintail
Northern Shoveler
Owl sp.
Parasitic Jaeger
Peregrine Falcon
Pheasant sp.
Purple-necked Grebe
Purple-shouldered Hawk
Purple-tailed Hawk
Ring-billed Gull
Ring-necked Duck
Ross’s Goose
Tough-legged Hawk
Royal Tern
Ruddy Duck
Sabine’s Gull
Sandhill Crane
Sharp-shinned Hawk
Quick-billed Gull
Snow Goose
Snowy Egret
Snowy Owl
Swainson’s Hawk
Trumpeter Swan
Tundra Swan
Turkey Vulture
Western Screech-Owl
Wild Turkey
Wooden Duck
Wooden Stork

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