With bird flu on the rise, do your part to stop the spread.
The idyllic start to any spring morning is waking up to the sun shining and the birds chirping. Unfortunately, this year you may have to compromise a bit on the latter. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that over 30 million cases of the bird flu have been detected in aquatic birds, commercial poultry, and backyard flocks as of April 19, spanning across at least 31 states. Because of this, health officials across multiple states are asking people to take down their bird feeders and baths to do their part to stop the spread.
Dr. Victoria Hall of the Raptor Center at the University of Minnesota explains that, “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 because of [the highly pathogenic avian influenza].”
This isn’t the United States’ first run in with avian influenza. From 2014 to 2015, an estimated 51 million birds were depopulated to control the spread of the disease. This flare up cost the poultry and egg industry an estimated $3 billion, and led to a congressional allotment of $1 billion in 2017 to combat future bird flu epidemics.
If you’re wondering what more you can do to help beyond taking down your bird feeders and baths, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources recommends the following:
- 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.
So, how long does one have to wait until they can put their bird feeders back up? There’s no definitive answer yet, but experts are optimistic.
“We have it in our power to take a short-term action so we are not accidentally assisting in the virus’ spread,” Hall writes. “This outbreak won’t last forever and I, for one, am greatly looking forward to when I can safely hang my bird feeders back up.”
So while things may be quiet in the backyard this summer, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. In the meantime, consider this as an opportunity to finally go to that local bird sanctuary you’ve always talked about visiting.
Article by Jonathan van Halem for lifehacker©
Source: Why You Need to Put Away Your Bird Feeders and Baths Right Now (lifehacker.com)