Avian Flu in the News - Affecting Waterfowl and Poultry

Wild Birds Unlimited is closely monitoring the Avian Flu (bird flu) outbreak in the United States and Canada. We are committed to keeping you and your family safe and informed about issues that may affect the hobby of bird feeding. Your safety and the health of birds and wildlife are our primary concern.

We are actively connected with the proper wild bird and health experts to keep our customers informed of any developments that could affect safe backyard bird feeding practices.

What is Avian Flu?

  • Avian influenza refers to the infection of birds with avian influenza Type A viruses. These viruses occur naturally among wild aquatic birds worldwide such as ducks, geese and shorebirds.
  • The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as well as the Public Health Agency of Canada currently deem this outbreak to be of low human health risk.
  • No human avian flu infections have occurred in North America as a result of the current outbreak in wild birds or domestic poultry. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention deem H5N1 to be of low human health risk.
  • In other countries that experienced past avian flu outbreaks, wild birds have not played a role in the transmission of the disease to humans. Human infections with other avian influenza viruses have only occurred after close and prolonged contacts with infected poultry or the excretions/secretions of infected poultry.

Is it Still Safe to Feed the Birds?

  • There is no need to stop watching, feeding or attracting birds to your yard because of avian flu.
  • There is no evidence humans are at risk of contracting avian flu from backyard birds or bird feeding.
  • The Cornell University Wildlife Health Lab states, “Passerines [song birds] do not seem susceptible to HPAI and are not thought to play a significant role in spreading this virus. We are not recommending removal of bird feeders at this point.”
  • The US Department of Agriculture states, “HPAI viruses and the illness they cause are not commonly found in wild birds…removing backyard feeders is not something USDA specifically recommends to prevent avian influenza unless you also take care of poultry.
  • As with any bird or animal, wild or domestic, it is always prudent to take sensible precautions after direct or indirect contact. Be careful around animal droppings or water used by birds and animals; wash your hands after contact with soap and water.
  • It’s always a good idea to practice responsible bird feeding on a regular basis. Clean and sanitize all bird feeders, bird baths and hardware with a 10% bleach solution (one part bleach to nine parts water). Rinse thoroughly and allow to completely dry before refilling feeders and baths.