IDNR recommends removing bird feeders, baths to curb avian influenza

Bird Feeder (Source: Storyblocks)

(KBSI) – The Illinois Department of Natural Resources recommends people remove their bird feeders and bird baths through May 31 to curb the EA H5N1 strain of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) currently impacting some wild and domestic bird species.

Further IDNR recommendations:

  • Clean and rinse bird feeders and baths with a diluted bleach solution (nine parts water to one part bleach) and put away or clean weekly if they can’t be moved away from birds.
  • Remove any bird seed at the base of bird feeders to discourage large gatherings of birds or other wildlife.
  • Avoid feeding wild birds in close proximity to domestic flocks.

If five or more dead wild birds are observed in one location, an IDNR district wildlife biologist should be contacted. Tap here for contact information for district wildlife biologists. USDA Wildlife Services also may be contacted at 1-866-487-3297.

IDNR also requests all occurrences of dead or sick bald eagles be reported to the agency.

Use rubber gloves and a mask when disposing of any dead wild birds. The carcass should be double-bagged in sealed plastic bags. The bags can be buried away from scavengers or placed in the garbage if approved by the local waste service provider. Anyone handling dead birds should thoroughly wash their hands and any other clothes or tools with soap and water following disposal.

Wild turkeys are less likely to contract HPAI given their behavior and the habitats they occupy, according to IDNR. Turkey hunters can still protect themselves by thoroughly cooking game meat to an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit and implementing other guidance found here.

HPAI was detected in wild Canada geese in Illinois on March 10. Since then, wild bird mortality from HPAI has been confirmed in Champaign, Fulton, Sangamon, and Will counties. More recently the deaths of more than 200 birds in Cook County are suspected to be caused from HPAI.

Wild birds impacted include waterfowl and waterbird species, as well as some raptors, including bald eagles. Detections in domestic poultry flocks have also occurred.

Tap here for more information on the status of HPAI in wild birds and domestic bird flocks in Illinois and other states.

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