This spring, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has identified avian influenza (bird flu) in domestic poultry and wild birds in Minnesota. While the DNR does not have record of songbirds being affected by the current bird flu strain at this time, it recommends residents to take down and clean bird feeders each spring as this helps protect birds against other infections such as salmonella.
The bird flu can infect chickens, turkeys, captive pheasants, quail, domestic ducks, domestic geese, and guinea fowl. Wild birds also are susceptible.
If you find a potentially sick bird, The DNR recommends avoiding handling the animal if possible. Do not attempt to care for the animal yourself. While the risk of contracting this strain is low for humans, there still is a risk. Report the finding to the Minnesota DNR at 888-646-6367. DNR biologists may be interested in recording the possible case to track the virus.
For more information, visit the DNR website and the University of Minnesota Raptor Center website.