MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – To help mitigate the spread of bird flu, the Raptor Center at the University of Minnesota is asking people to take down bird feeders and stop using bird baths this spring.
“Because the science is unclear on the role of songbirds in this current H5N1 outbreak, one consideration is to not encourage birds to gather together at places such as bird feeders or bird baths,” Dr. Victoria Hall wrote on the Raptor Center’s Facebook page on Wednesday.
Hall said this particular strain of bird flu is especially transmissible, and the Raptor Center sees the impact of the virus every day. The birds fall ill and and die quickly from the virus.
Hall said to pause the use of bird feeders and baths “for the next couple of months,” or until the rate of transmission in wild birds decreases.
“Not only will this action help to protect those beautiful feathered creatures that visit your yard, but will also help all wild bird species that are already having it hard this spring,” Hall continued.
The virus is shed in the feces and respiratory secretions of infected birds. The particles can survive for weeks in cool, damp environments.
Bird flu has cost Minnesota’s turkey farmers more than 1 million birds as of last week, and seven flocks have been infected across the border in Wisconsin. The Minnesota Legislature on Friday approved $1 million in emergency funding to help the state combat the spread of the disease.