Avian influenza (also known as bird flu) is a disease affecting birds across Canada and the United States. The disease originated in wild aquatic birds, is devastating poultry farms, and is spreading to wild birds. Infected birds can transfer the virus through feces, saliva, and nasal secretions, and other birds catch it through direct contact with them or touching contaminated surfaces.
Avian flu is spreading at a high rate and has become a cause for alarm to poultry farmers who keep large chicken populations. Fortunately, there is no sign of the virus infecting humans. But, other small animals, namely cats, have tested positive for avian influenza.
This article will cover a few tips for minimizing or eliminating the spread of avian influenza on your property.
Cleaning Your Bird Feeder
Because the disease spreads through saliva and waste particles, the most effective way to prevent avian influenza transmission is through regular cleaning of your bird feeders. More wild birds gather at bird feeders than any other yard decoration.
You should clean your birds’ feeder regularly with natural cleaners and use diluted bleach once in a while when it needs a thorough cleaning. Be sure to rinse the feeder thoroughly and give it time to dry if you use bleach. You can find a variety of natural cleansers and bird feeder cleaning sprays that are not hazardous to your birds.
Cleaning Your Birdhouse
You should also ensure your birds’ house is clean to prevent insects, mites, fungus, rodents, and bacteria from spreading the virus to your backyard birds. You can clean the birdhouse after the breeding season when the nesting birds don’t go back to their nest.
To clean the house, open or disassemble it, and then dispose of the nesting materials. Thoroughly scrub the entire house with diluted bleach and rinse it properly to eliminate all bleach traces. Sun-dry the birdhouse for several hours.
Cleaning Your Birdbath
Taking proper care of your birdbath helps keep insects like mosquitos away and reduces avian flu transmission. Using soaps to clean the birdbath could take off essential oils from your birds’ feathers. Scrub it with diluted vinegar and rinse it thoroughly.
Refill the bath with fresh water every day to prevent it from drying up or becoming a stagnant breeding ground for mosquitos. Place your birdbath near feeders and add a fountain feature to discourage mosquitoes from laying their eggs there.
As the last option to save your backyard birds from the outbreak of influenza, you might have to get rid of the bird feeder. The feeder and baths are two of the places that your birds gather together, and removing them will prevent them from transmitting the disease.
Bird watchers may not want to do this, but local or personal health concerns might merit this drastic action. Try using the methods we listed above before turning to the nuclear option.
Ck Harrington is a content writer for JC’s Wildlife, an online wildlife supply store. When Ck isn’t writing content, you can find him playing disc golf, training his corgi, or exploring the great outdoors. If you have more questions about caring for wild birds, check out our blog or email us at: Customer_service@jcswildlife.com.