Avian flu is spreading

As a volunteer with Safe Wings Ottawa, MFNC member Roger Magoon often has contact with injured and/or dead birds; keeping an eye out for Avian Flu— the Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) — is essential. The virus is spreading like wildfire among waterfowl such as geese, ducks and gulls in particular. 

If a bird does test positive for avian flu and it has been in a care facility, all other birds in the facility most likely will be euthanized.

The symptoms of avian flu include:

– emaciation

– discharge from the nose, mouth or eyes

– sneezing

– behavioral abnormalities (falling over, head tilted, circling, paralysis, seizures)

– unable to stand or flap wings properly without any signs of traumatic injury

As far as bird feeders go, Roger has told people to stop feeding Blue Jays as a minimum. Non-Corvid songbirds are probably low risk but they can get the disease.

If someone finds a sick bird they should call the Canadian Wildlife Health Cooperative at 1-800-567-2033 or use their online reporting tool.