Eagle Point – The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife has detected Avian flu in wild birds in the Southern Willamette Valley. Causing a concern for wild songbirds you see in your backyard.
As birds migrate so does this disease, any contact with infected birds can be transmitted through their eyes, nose, and mouth. Birds or chickens could look puffy around the head and neck area and have purple discoloration in various body parts.
ODFW says this is no surprise that birds and poultry in the Southern Oregon area are seeing this, other states and countries also have this issue. “It’s in a number of other states and Canadian providences so we expected it would turn up and it did,” says Michelle Dennehy from the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.
This naturally occurring virus is especially prevalent among aquatic birds such as ducks, geese, and shorebirds as well as affecting commercial and backyard chicken coops.
“If you have backyard chickens, you need to take extra steps to provide biosecurity so those chickens aren’t interacting with wild birds,” says Dennehy.
Earlier this month, the first Oregon case in a backyard poultry flock was confirmed in Linn County and one additional case has been confirmed in Lane County. The virus is mostly spread directly from bird to bird, ODFW is asking people to not feed ducks and geese because waterfowl are particularly susceptible to the disease.
Chickens in commercial chicken coops are extremely susceptible which can cause an economic issue for the poultry industry. Laura Fleming is the owner of Wild Birds Unlimited in Medford. They specialize in bird seeds and bird feeders. She says the best way to keep the transmission low between the different species would be to regularly clean your bird feeder.
“We’re bringing birds into our feeders and they’re congregating a little bit more, it’s very important that you keep the feeders nice and clean so that so you’re not spreading all sorts of diseases amongst all the birds,” says Fleming.
Dirty feeders, baths, and hardware can contribute to the spread of disease. She says feeders should be cleaned at least every four weeks and to always discard old, wet, and foul-smelling seeds. To wash a bird feeder, use a 10% bleach solution and rinse thoroughly and dry before refilling.
If you do notice that there are dead birds around your feeder or at your neighbor’s house you want to take down your bird feeder for a while and let time pass. according to ODFW they have not seen any kind of significant impact on songbirds from avian flu. By taking precautions you can help keep Oregon wildlife safe from diseases like Avian flu.
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Camryn joined NewsWatch 12 as a reporter/producer at the end of January, 2022.
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Wild birds test positive for Avian flu in Oregon – KDRV