Illinois officials advise against bird feeders, bird baths amid avian flu outbreak


Officials are advising people in Illinois not to use bird feeders or bird baths amid a nationwide outbreak of the avian flu.

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) is recommending Illinoisans not use bird feeders or bird baths through May 31 or until the outbreak subsides, saying wild birds will have enough food throughout the spring.

Health officials are also recommending people clean any bird baths or feeders that cannot be removed; report any instance in which five or more birds were found dead; and immediately report any sick or dead bald eagles.

The highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) has spread across the country this year, affecting commercial flocks and wild birds.

Bald eagles have also been impacted, raising an alert in Georgia earlier this month after at least three of the national birds were found dead on the coast.

IDNR first reported HPAI among a flock of wild Canada geese on March 10. Since then, officials detected the avian flu in Champaign, Fulton, Sangamon and Will counties.

In Cook County, more than 200 birds died in what health officials said is an expected case of the rapid spread of HPAI.

As of April 22, the U.S. Department of Agriculture is reporting more than 31 million birds with HPAI across 29 states, including 229 flocks.

In Illinois, about 80 birds are confirmed with HPAI.