Highly Pathogenic Avian Flu
The Highly Pathogenic Avian Flu (HPAI) is a naturally occurring bird virus that can infect waterfowl, shorebirds, poultry, and raptors. It is not known to infect songbirds. This avian flu has been found in domestic poultry and wild birds in Wisconsin. Because we know this disease also spreads to birds of prey, the Center is taking precautions to protect our captive raptor ambassadors. As a community resource, we are sharing information about this bird flu with the public.
What species can be infected?
Waterfowl, shorebirds, poultry, and raptors. Some infected birds show no symptoms; others exhibit extreme head tilting, loss of balance, and general fatigue. Read below for what to do if you find a deceased bird in your neighborhood.
How is this transmitted?
HPAI is transmitted when an infected bird comes in contact with another bird of an affected species. The virus can also indirectly spread through feces, which can be easily carried on the bottom shoes.
How does this impact my visit to Schlitz Audubon?
It doesn’t! We are taking the necessary precautions to protect the birds in our Raptor Program, which means that Sky Walker, our Red-tailed Hawk, will not be in the Raptor Exhibit at this time. Otherwise, we are offering all of the other experiences you enjoy when visiting Schlitz Audubon.
Should I take down my songbird feeders?
At this time, the USDA and WI DNR do not recommend removing feeders to prevent the spread of HPAI, unless the property owner also has poultry or if waterfowl or geese also visit your feeder location. Because the illness is not known to infect songbirds, you can continue to appreciate the birds visiting your feeders. Clean your feeders as you normally would.
Additionally, according to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, “There is currently very low risk of an outbreak among wild songbirds, and no official recommendation to take down feeders unless you also keep domestic poultry.” Read more from Cornell.
What do I do if I find a deceased bird in my backyard or community?
To find out what action you should take, please contact the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources by calling 608-267-0866 or by emailing DNRWildlifeSwitchboard@wisconsin.gov.
We continue to monitor the status of the avian flu in our area and will update this page as needed.