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Cornell Cooperative Extension: take down bird feeders to help stop the spread of avian flu

Bird Feeder 3.14.22.jpg
Posted at 12:36 PM, Mar 15, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-15 12:37:00-04

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — The Cornell Cooperative Extension is asking New Yorkers to take down bird feeders to help stop the spread of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI).

The CCE said avian flu is a serious, fatal disease of poultry and since the beginning of the year, it has been identified in over 350 wild birds in 20 states, including New York. There have also been three cases of HPAI in backyard poultry flocks in NYS which led to the death of 268 birds.

"While this disease is mostly carried by wild waterfowl, research has shown that other wild bird populations can carry it too, especially if they share nesting and feeding grounds with wild waterfowl. These populations include perching birds and songbirds. For this reason, we are recommending that folks that feed wild birds should take down their bird feeders until the threat of the disease has passed," a release says.

The CCE said scientists believe caseloads should decrease over the summer months and at that point it may be safe to put feeders back out.

"The highest risk of spreading the disease is now, during the spring migration. That said, this is a disease of the colder months, and we may see cases spike again during the fall migration," a release says.

For those who have poultry at home, the CCE provided the following tips to help protect them:

  • Keep your flock away from wild birds, especially wild waterfowl
  • Keep people who aren’t responsible for poultry care away from your flock
  • If you must visit other poultry or areas that wild birds frequent, change into clean clothing and footwear before entering poultry housing