If you have bird feeders on your property, proper cleanings can help cut down on cases of bird flu.
Bird Flu in Indiana
Avian Flu or Bird Flu, has been a hot topic lately. In February of 2022, a commercial turkey farm in Dubois County was hit with avian flu.
From Indiana DNR:
In February 2022, HPAI H5N1 was first confirmed in a commercial turkey farm in Dubois County, Indiana. Within the month, HPAI has been confirmed in four commercial poultry farms in two Indiana counties.
I checked the bird flu tracker that Indiana DNR has on their website, and as recently as April 14th a commercial duck farm in Elkhart Indiana was hit with avian flu. The same strain as the turkey farms. This is important to note because of how quickly bird flu can spread to other areas.
If You Have a Bird Feeder It's Very Important to Keep it Clean
As you can tell from above, bird flu can spread quickly, so Indiana DNR says if you have bird feeders and birdbaths, an easy way you can help birds stay healthy is by keeping those feeders and baths clean. Here's what Indiana DNR suggests you can do to help prevent the spread of bird flu:
Practice proper hygiene and good biosecurity. If you keep birdfeeders and birdbaths on your property, clean them regularly with hot water and a 10% bleach solution, rinse thoroughly, and then allow birdfeeders to completely dry before refilling. Clean up birdseed that has fallen below birdfeeders. Do not feed wild birds, especially waterfowl, near domestic flocks. If you come in contact with any bird that appears unhealthy, wash your hands with soap and water, and change clothing and shoes before coming in contact with a domestic flock or captive birds.
Is bird flu a risk to humans?
While bird flu is definitely a risk to our feathered friends, the good news is the chances of the bird flu being a risk to humans is low.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) considers the risk to people from AI viruses to be low. To date, no human AI infections have been detected in the United States.
Bird Flu Symptoms
If you happen to notice birds with the following symptoms, you should report them to Indiana DNR through their website for sick or dead wildlife, here. Here are the symptoms of bird flu that you should keep an eye out for:
Clinical signs of HPAI in birds include one or more of the following:
- Sudden death
- Neurological impairment (e.g., lack of coordination, swimming in circles, tremors, twisted neck)
- Lack of energy and appetite
- Decrease in egg production, soft-shelled or misshapen eggs
- Swelling of the head, eyelids, wattles, hocks, and comb
- Purple discoloration of wattles, combs, and legs
- Nasal discharge, cough, sneezing, lack of coordination, and diarrhea
Keep those bird feeders clean, and keep an eye on our feathered friends.