Avian Flu Outbreak Sparks Concerns Over Use of Bird Feeders

Migratory waterfowl, like these Snow Geese, are the most common carriers of avian influenza. Image by Linda Chittum/Macaulay Library. Courtesy: Cornell Lab

Millions of chickens are dead. Egg prices are soaring. Worries about avian flu have resulted in a buzz over the risks of feeding wild songbirds. However, there is currently a low risk of an outbreak among wild songbirds, and no official recommendation to take down feeders unless you also keep domestic poultry.

It is important to take precautions to prevent the spread of avian diseases, particularly avian influenza, which can be deadly to poultry. As a backyard bird enthusiast, I follow the recommendations from trusted sources such as the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, which include:

  • Keeping wild birds away from poultry and poultry food.
  • Taking down bird feeders if you keep poultry.
  • Cleaning bird feeders and birdbaths regularly and wearing disposable gloves when handling and cleaning feeders.
  • Cleaning feeders frequently with a hospital-grade disinfectant like PureGreen24 or a bleach solution, and changing birdbath water daily.

It’s also important to note that transmission of avian influenza from birds to humans is very rare and causes only mild symptoms. It is always best to follow the guidance of local health and wildlife authorities to stay up to date on the situation.

Thought In Memory Of Thomas Brown

Words are sacred. They deserve respect. If you get the right ones, in the right order, you can nudge the world a little.

Tom Stoppard
White Chinese Geese Swimming by Reeds by (1928) Ohara Koson. Original from the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Digitally enhanced by rawpixel.