Avian Flu in the News
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.
- In other countries that experienced past avian flu outbreaks, wild songbirds 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 most 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 backyard birds that visit our feeders appear to be significantly less susceptible and much less likely to become a source for the virus.
- 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 thoroughly 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.
Feeding wild birds in your backyard
The use of bird feeders is unlikely to spread highly pathogenic avian influenza virus, and the risk of an outbreak in wild bird species that frequent feeders is considered low.
Be sure to follow these guidelines if you use backyard bird feeders:
- To minimize the risk of transmission of HPAI virus, do not feed waterfowl, gulls, or other water birds
- Do not handle or feed any wild bird by hand
- Remove bird feeders from areas that are open to poultry and other domestic animals
- If you care for poultry, prevent contact between wild birds and your animals by removing exterior/outdoor sources of food, water, and shelter that attract wild birds
- Be sure to clean your backyard bird feeders and baths regularly, at least every two weeks, using a solution of one part household bleach to nine parts water. Ensure that they are well rinsed and dried before re-use
- Regular cleaning practices are essential for infection prevention and control, as various other pathogens are known to spread at feeders (e.g., trichomonas, salmonella, and avian pox)
More information from the Government of Canada: