can blackbirds get bird flu

Wild birds that carry bird flu viruses include waterbirds, like ducks, geese and swans, and shorebirds, like storks. Bird flu viruses can easily spread from wild birds to poultry, like chickens and turkeys. Some wild birds can carry bird flu viruses without appearing sick, but poultry, like chickens and turkeys, can get very sick and die from some bird flu viruses. If you raise backyard poultry or ducks, your birds can get bird flu if they have contact with infected wild birds or share food, sources of water, and environments with them. Most common songbirds or other birds found in the yard, like cardinals, robins, sparrows, blue jays, crows, or pigeons, do not usually carry bird flu viruses that are dangerous to poultry or people.

Human infections with bird flu viruses are rare but can occur, usually after close contact with infected birds. The current risk to the general public from bird flu viruses is low; however, it is important to remember that risk depends on exposure, and people with more exposure might have a greater risk of infection. There is existing federal guidance around bird flu exposures for different groups of people, including people with occupational or recreational exposure, such as hunters [297 KB, 2 pages] and poultry producers, and also for the general public, as well as health care providers.

As a general precaution, people should avoid direct contact with wild birds and observe them only from a distance, if possible. Wild birds can be infected with bird flu viruses without appearing sick. If possible, avoid contact with poultry that appear ill or have died. Avoid contact with surfaces that appear to be contaminated with feces from wild or domestic birds, if possible. CDC has information about precautions to take with wild birds. As a reminder, it is safe to eat properly handled and cooked poultry and poultry products in the United States. The proper handling and cooking of poultry and eggs to an internal temperature of 165?F kills bacteria and viruses, including bird flu viruses.

CDC has guidance for specific groups of people with exposure to poultry, including poultry workers and people responding to poultry outbreaks. If you must handle wild birds or sick or dead poultry, minimize direct contact by wearing gloves and wash your hands with soap and water after touching birds. If available, wear respiratory protection such as a medical facemask. Change your clothing before contact with healthy domestic poultry and birds after handling wild birds, and discard the gloves and facemask, and then wash your hands with soap and water. Additional information is available at Information for People Exposed to Birds Infected with Avian Influenza Viruses of Public Health Concern.

If You Keep Chickens or Ducks:

See latest information from the USDA Animal Plant and Health Inspection Service.

What to do if you find a sick or dead bird:

Avoid handling sick or dead birds. Alternatively, give your state’s wildlife health agency a call; they can ascertain the cause of death and forward the bird to the relevant laboratory for examination. Furthermore, keep pets away from dead or sick wild birds, including pet birds.

  • Avoid contact with birds that appear sick or have died.
  • Avoid contact with surfaces that have bird feces.
  • If you must touch sick or dead birds:
  • Wear gloves and a face mask.
  • Place dead birds in a double-bagged garbage bag.
  • Throw away your gloves and facemask after use.
  • Wash your hands well with soap and warm water.

Bird flu is not a risk to food safety. It is safe to consume poultry and eggs that have been handled carefully and cooked to an internal temperature of 165°F.

Get in touch with your healthcare provider if handling sick or dead birds makes you feel unwell.

If you keep nest boxes:

Avian influenza is only rarely transmitted to humans, according to the USDA. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention considers the general public health risk from avian flu to be low. Nevertheless, our NestWatch project always advises good hygiene and highly recommends that people wear disposable gloves and/or wash their hands thoroughly after checking nest boxes. Most birds that use nest boxes are songbirds, which are at low risk for contracting or transmitting avian influenza. If you monitor waterfowl or raptor nests (e.g., Wood Duck, Common Merganser, Canada Goose, American Kestrel, Barred Owl), we suggest you wear gloves, change or wash gloves and disinfect equipment between nest boxes, wear a mask when cleaning out nest boxes, and change clothes and footwear before visiting any domestic poultry.