can you get bird flu from bird feeders

As the bird flu virus continues to evolve and make headlines, it’s natural to have questions. There has been confusion about whether people should take down their feeders to stop the spread of this disease among wild birds.

We take a deep dive into the most recent expert testimonials and CDC advice to answer whether avian bird flu can be spread through bird feeders.

If songbirds are at low risk, why are people who keep poultry advised to take down their bird feeders?

  • The primary worry regarding songbirds is the possibility that a single, uncommon bird could infect chickens. This is concerning because songbirds are not nearly as susceptible to HPAI as poultry are.
  • Preventing songbirds from approaching poultry is the primary intervention; preventing songbirds from interacting with one another is less crucial.
  • The most crucial actions to take if you have a backyard flock of chickens are as follows: (click for USDA APHIS’s complete description of these biosecurity measures) keep your poultry indoors or otherwise physically separated from wild birds; change your clothes and wash your hands before handling your poultry (or pet birds).
  • The USDA APHIS advises chicken owners to remove wild bird feeders or to keep them far away from their captive flock as a backup measure.

What is Avian Influenza (Bird Flu?)

Bird flu, also called avian influenza, is a disease caused by an infection with an avian (bird) influenza (flu) Type A virus.

The virus that causes bird flu has been spreading among birds and poultry in various parts of the world for a long time.

However a newer, more deadly strain of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) or H5N1 has been making recent headlines for destroying flocks and raising the price of eggs.

flu we see all over the news was first identified in wild birds in the U.S. in January 2022, according to the CDC.

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.


Can avian flu spread through bird feeders?

Feeders and bird baths have the potential to spread bird flu. Although song birds have a lower risk of spreading the disease, food sources may also attract local wildlife like ducks and geese — known carriers for the disease.

Is it OK to put out bird feeders now?

However, feeding and providing water to wild birds is generally discouraged because the increased congregation of wild birds at bird feeders and bird baths may lead to fecal contamination of the local environment, which can aid in disease transmission.

Should I take down my bird feeders?

Some people prefer not to feed birds in the spring and summer when there is abundant food. However, leaving your feeders up year-round is not a problem as long as you keep a few things in mind: If bears live near you, you should not keep feeders up during the warmer months.

Can you get bird flu from being around birds?

Bird flu spreads between both wild and domesticated birds. It has also been passed from birds to humans who are in close contact with poultry or other birds. There is no clear evidence that the virus can be transmitted from human to human.