Tuesday, September 27, 2022
HomeBirdAvian Influenza Outbreak: Ought to You Take Down Your Chook Feeders?

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

Initially revealed April 20, 2022. Up to date June 27, 2022.

Many individuals are involved in regards to the 2022 outbreak of avian influenza, or chicken flu, that has effects on 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. Notice that transmission of avian influenza from birds to people could be very uncommon, in keeping with the Facilities for Illness Management. As of Could 27, one particular person has examined constructive for avian influenza and developed gentle signs, in Colorado.

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 relating to HPAI, particularly amongst songbirds and different feeder guests.

Low Threat of Avian Flu to Songbirds

There’s at the moment very low threat of an outbreak amongst wild songbirds, and no official suggestion to take down feeders except you additionally maintain home poultry, in keeping with the Nationwide Wildlife Illness Program. We do at all times suggest that you just clear chicken feeders and birdbaths commonly as a technique to maintain many sorts of ailments at bay.

We additionally at all times suggest that you just observe any suggestions put out by your state authorities, such because the latest request to take down feeders in Illinois. We are going to replace this web page because the state of affairs develops.

How do we all know songbirds are at low threat?

  • USDA APHIS has a powerful, multiyear surveillance program that routinely samples wild birds, together with flocks of songbirds (and different species similar to Rock Pigeons and Mourning Doves which can be typically round people), for the presence of avian influenza. To date in 2022, they’ve detected the HPAI pressure in 1,635 wild birds, with 38 detections in songbirds (see beneath for a listing of species). Newest data in regards to the outbreak.
  • Avian influenza doesn’t have an effect on all forms 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 chicken species. For instance, waterfowl typically carry and transmit chicken flu, however hardly ever get sick from the illness (even from HPAI strains). Raptors are rather more delicate to the illness than waterfowl. Home poultry are extraordinarily inclined to HPAI and unfold the illness simply, resulting in as much as 100% mortality of affected flocks.
  • Songbirds are a lot much less doubtless than waterfowl to contract avian influenza and fewer prone to shed giant quantities of virus, which means they don’t transmit the illness simply. (See Shriner and Root 2020 for an in depth overview within the journal Viruses.)
  • In response to a separate examine within the Journal of Wildlife Illnesses, “…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 is no such thing as a proof supporting their involvement as pure reservoirs for IAV.” (Slusher et al. 2014)
  • For these causes, it’s unlikely that chicken feeders will contribute to an outbreak amongst songbirds.

If songbirds are at low threat, why are individuals who maintain poultry suggested to take down their chicken feeders?

  • The principle concern with songbirds is the prospect {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 essential to maintain songbirds away from one another.
  • When you’ve got a yard poultry flock, these are a very powerful steps to take:
    (click on for full data on these biosecurity measures from USDA APHIS)
  • As a secondary measure, USDA APHIS recommends for poultry house owners to take down wild chicken feeders or maintain them properly away from their captive flock

For those who maintain nest bins:

Avian influenza is barely hardly ever transmitted to people, in keeping with the USDA, however nonetheless our NestWatch mission at all times advises good hygiene and extremely recommends that individuals put on disposable gloves and/or wash their fingers completely after checking nest bins. Most birds that use nest bins are songbirds, that are at low threat for contracting or transmitting avian influenza. For those who 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 bins, put on a masks when cleansing out nest bins, 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 info.

What to do in the event you discover a sick or lifeless chicken:

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

Extra Assets:

Wild chicken species with HPAI detections in 2022

Up to date June 27, 2022. Complete variety of detections in wild birds: 1,635. See 2022 Detections of Extremely Pathogenic Avian Influenza in Wild Birds for contemporary detections.


American Crow (19, North Dakota; 1, Michigan; 2, Minnesota; 6, Wisconsin)
American Robin (1, North Dakota)
Black-billed Magpie (3, Wyoming)
Frequent Grackle (1, Montana)
Frequent Raven (1, Wisconsin; 1, Minnesota)
Darkish-eyed Junco (1, Minnesota)
Fish Crow (1, New York)
Pink-winged Blackbird (1, Michigan)


American Black Duck
American Kestrel
American White Pelican
American Wigeon
Bald Eagle
Barred Owl
Black Vulture
Blue-winged Teal
Broad-winged Hawk
Brown Pelican
Canada Goose
Caspian Tern
Frequent Goldeneye
Cooper’s Hawk
Frequent Loon
Frequent Tern
Cormorant sp.
Darkish-eyed Junco
Double-crested Cormorant
Duck sp.
Eared Grebe
Nice Blue Heron
Nice Horned Owl
Better White-fronted Goose
Inexperienced-winged Teal
Gull sp.
Hawk sp.
Heron sp.
Herring Gull
Hooded Merganser
Horned Grebe
Laughing Gull
Lesser Scaup
Merganser sp.
Muscovy Duck
Mute Swan
Neotropic Cormorant
Northern Harrier
Northern Pintail
Northern Shoveler
Owl sp.
Peregrine Falcon
Pheasant sp.
Pink-shouldered Hawk
Pink-tailed Hawk
Ring-billed Gull
Ring-necked Duck
Ross’s Goose
Tough-legged Hawk
Royal Tern
Ruddy Duck
Sandhill Crane
Sharp-shinned Hawk
Snow Goose
Snowy Egret
Snowy Owl
Swainson’s Hawk
Trumpeter Swan
Tundra Swan
Turkey Vulture
Wild Turkey
Wooden Duck



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