Raptor Center Recommends Taking Bird Feeders Down
BIRD FEEDERS? YAY OR NAY?
We are hearing conflicting reports on what to do with our yard bird feeders regarding the recent outbreak of Avian Influenza, which is a virus that has several strains, with some being more dangerous than others.
Some birds can carry AI (Avian Influenza) without getting sick, like swans, geese, and ducks; however, as these birds migrate, they can spread the disease to other bird species and within their own colonies.
THE BIG BAD STRAIN
The current strain, H5N1, is a tough one. It can impact trade across the US and Globally and can affect domestic chickens and raptors. This strain is super deadly and can kill many species rather quickly. Unfortunately, the strain has no problem surviving cold and freezing temperatures and is easily spread on any object that the virus particles can land on.
WHAT ARE THE RECOMMENDATIONS?
We've heard varying recommendations for using bird feeders at this time. Some people say, there is NO WAY they are going to take their bird feeders down. However, if you love birds, it might be a good idea to pause the use of bird feeders for a few weeks, until we get through this difficult time. There's not a lot known about how AI will affect songbirds, but Raptors are definitely at risk.
SEVERE ILLNESS KILLING OUR EAGLES, OWLS, BLUE JAYS, AND MORE
The Raptor Center is seeing severe illness in owls, eagles, geese, ducks, blue jays, and crows. They say it's a terrible illness and the only humane thing they can do for the birds is to put them down with humane euthanasia.
Dr. Victoria Hall, with the Raptor Center, says, "Since science is unclear on songbirds regarding the current outbreak, it might be helpful to NOT encourage birds to gather at bird feeders or birdbaths because those are places that the virus can be easily exchanged from one bird to another."