Do you need to take down your bird feeder to stop avian flu?

MADISON, Wis. — Wisconsin is in the midst of an avian flu outbreak, just as many songbirds begin to return to the state for springtime.

The virus can cause illness and death for some birds.

RELATED: Though unlikely, DNR asks hunters to watch for turkeys with signs of avian flu

So, do you need to take down your bird feeder to help stop the spread? As of right now, the simple answer is ‘No.’

According to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, songbirds are unlikely to contract highly pathogenic avian influenza in their natural environment. However, if waterfowl such as geese are attracted to your feeder, you should take it down.

Waterfowl are one of the species most susceptible to the virus, along with waterbirds such as loons and storks, avian scavengers such as crows and gulls, and raptors. Bald eagles are especially vulnerable.

As of Monday, HPAI has been identified in either wild or domestic birds in 17 Wisconsin counties, including seven domestic flocks. Over 2.8 million domestic birds have been depopulated to stop the spread of the virus. Over 2.7 million of them were depopulated from a poultry facility in Jefferson County.

Signs of HPAI vary based on the bird but can include sneezing, coughing, an abnormal head position, or circling. If you see a bird that may be sick, contact the DNR at 608-267-0866.

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