Illinois residents urged to take down bird feeders, baths to slow spread of avian flu

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Illinois residents are being urged to stop using bird feeders and bird baths to help slow the spread of avian flu.

The EA HFN1 strain of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) is currently impacting wild and domestic bird species in Illinois, according to the Illinois Dept. of Natural Resources.

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HPAI was first detected in wild Canada geese in Illinois in March. While it has not yet been detected in songbirds, the IDNR recommends residents take down their bird feeders and baths through the end of May, or until HPAI infections subside in the Midwest

The department also 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.

The avian flu is rarely transmissible to humans. Nevertheless, experts said you should avoid birds in the wild.

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If five or more deceased wild birds are observed in one location, an IDNR district wildlife biologist should be contacted.

USDA Wildlife Services also may be contacted at 1-866-487-3297.

In addition, IDNR requests all deceased or sick bald eagles be reported to the agency.
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