DNR: Removing feeders not urgent but could reduce bird flu

The Detroit News

Lansing, Mich. — A Michigan wildlife expert said removing outdoor feeders could help reduce the spread of a bird flu.

Avian influenza has been confirmed in at least five counties: Kalamazoo, Livingston, Macomb, Menominee and Washtenaw, according to the Department of Natural Resources.

Officials are monitoring a bird flu outbreak that’s affected other Midwest states.

It can infect a variety of birds, including chickens, turkeys, pheasants, quail, ducks, geese, wild birds and domestic birds.

The risk for people is considered to be low.

“If you’re concerned about this virus and want to act from a place of abundant caution, removing your bird feeders for now makes sense but it isn’t yet a critical step,” said Megan Moriarty, a state wildlife veterinarian.

“With warmer springtime weather on the way, too, birds will have more natural food sources readily available to them, so chances are many people will be taking down feeders in a few weeks anyway,” Moriarty said Wednesday.

The flu was discovered in domestic parrots in Washtenaw County, the latest detection reported this week by the DNR.