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Illinois Officials Recommend Removing Bird Feeders, Baths Due To Avian Flu

Illinois Officials Recommend Removing Bird Feeders, Baths Due To Avian Flu

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) is asking the public to stop the use of bird feeders and birdbaths in their yards to help prevent the spread of avian flu, according to a press release from the IDNR.

Avian Flu Detected

Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) was first detected in wild Canada geese in Illinois on March 10 of this year. Since then, instances have been found in several counties, including Will. More than 200 birds in Cook County are suspected to have died from HPAI.

Types of birds impacted so far include waterfowl and waterbird species, domestic poultry, and some raptors, including bald eagles.

Recommendations

To date, the flu has not been detected in any songbird species. However to help prevent or slow any spread, IDNR is recommending the restriction of the use of bird feeders and birdbaths through May 31, or until the infection rates go down.

Other recommendations by the IDNR include:

  • Cleaning and rinsing bird feeders and birdbaths with a solution of nine parts water to one part bleach, and then taking those items out of the yard. If they cannot be removed from where birds are, then weekly cleaning is recommended.
  • Clear out any birdseed that is sitting at the base of a bird feeder, to dissuade any large gatherings of birds or other animals at those spots.
  • Refrain from feeding any wild birds that are near any flocks of domestic birds.

Notify IDNR

The public is asked to notify IDNR if they discover any dead or sick bald eagles, or if they find five or more dead wild birds of other species in one location. Care should be used when disposing of any such birds. IDNR recommends wearing rubber gloves and a mask, and double-bagging the bird in sealed plastic bags. Afterwards, hands should be washed thoroughly, as should any clothes worn or tools used during disposal.

More information on the current status of HPAI in Illinois and other states can be found on the U.S. Department of Agriculture or Illinois Department of Agriculture websites.

Naperville News 17’s Kim Pirc reports.

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