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Public Safety & Health

IL DNR Recommends Not Using Bird Feeders and Birdbaths

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U.S Department of Agriculture
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USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service Facebook

People in Illinois should stop using bird feeders and birdbaths until the end of the month. That's the recommendation from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources in response to the avian influenza.

Nathan Grider, DNR wildlife program manager, says anytime various wildlife species feed together, there will be increased disease transmission. He says one way to respond is to remove bird feeders.

"Those are the higher concerns where you're going to have this mixing of different species, songbirds and the others. And so certainly bird feeders in the vicinity of poultry and backyard poultry is not a great idea right now and is one way people can help protect their personal flock."

The IDNR recommends residents remove all the birdseed from the bottom of their feeders, and avoid feeding wild birds near backyard chickens, ducks, and other domestic flocks.

Grider also says the risk of bird flu is different for each flock. While there are precautions people can take, it's important to consider individual factors.

"It's difficult for us to know the exact situation in everybody's backyard. So that's kind of why we approach it as general guidelines. For those if they feel they have a lower risk for their situation, in that case we recommend at least weekly cleanings of their bird feeders."

The Illinois DNR has additional recommendations. When people dispose of dead birds, wear rubber gloves and a mask, and double-bag the carcass. Then after throwing it out, wash your hands thoroughly.

For more information about the avian flu in wild and domestic birds, visit https://www2.illinois.gov/sites/agr/Animals/AnimalHealth/Pages/Highly-Pathogenic-Avian-Influenza.aspx.