As the situation with the highly pathogenic avian influence (HPAI) continues to evolve in Oregon, Wildlife Images continues to update its policies for the safety of the animals in our care — both our permanent residents and our rehabilitation patients. As HPAI remains an issue in the state, Wildlife Images will no longer accept vultures as patients. This is in addition to our moratorium on accepting ducks and geese.
The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife lists vultures among the most at risk to contract the virus because they could scavenge on birds that have been infected.
We are still accepting corvids and raptors on a case-by-case basis for the same reasons. Call us at 541-476-0222 if you have questions.
Several Canada goose goslings collected from Alton Baker Park in Eugene tested positive for highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) earlier this month. A red-tailed hawk from Eugene and an osprey collected from Dorena Reservoir (east of Cottage Grove) also tested positive.
These are the first known detections of the current strain of avian flu strain in wild birds in Oregon. There have been previous infections in the state in backyard flocks in Linn and Lane counties.
The risk of HPAI to human health is low, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The only known human case involving infection and illness was someone involved in the culling of presumptively infected poultry at a commercial farm in Colorado, according to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.
It is important to avoid close contact with waterfowl (ducks and geese) this spring and summer. This includes feeding waterfowl which congregates susceptible birds and enables the disease to spread between birds more easily.
If you see sick or injured birds, contact our clinic at 541-476-0222 for information on how to proceed. If you find a dead bird, do not collect or handle it but report the incident directly to ODFW at 866-968-2600 or Wildlife.Health@odfw.oregon.gov. ODFW staff will be conducting surveillance and collecting/testing dead wild birds to monitor for the presence of the disease.
If you have domesticated backyard birds such as poultry, increase your biosecurity and keep your birds separated from wild birds, especially waterfowl. If you have poultry that appears sick or has died of respiratory or neurological disease call 503-986-4711 (Alt Phone: 1-800-347-7028).
This strain of avian flu is not known to be a threat to songbirds, but keep your bird feeders clean and take them down if you see sick or dead birds near your feeder or in your neighborhood. More information is available at https://www.dfw.state.or.us/wildlife/health_program/dead_bird_reporting_protocol.asp
About avian influenza (from ODFW)
Avian influenza is a disease of birds caused by a bird-specific influenza Type A virus. This virus has been documented in more than 100 different species of wild birds worldwide. The first 2021/22 detection of Eurasian strain (EA) highly pathogenic avian influenza, specifically referred to as H5N1, in North America occurred in December 2021 in Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada. It was believed to have entered North America in an infected wild seabird or migrating waterfowl.
The virus currently circulating in Oregon and other parts of the world is very contagious among birds, and can sicken and even kill many bird species, including chickens, ducks, and turkeys. The USDA and CDC report that infected birds can shed avian influenza A viruses in their saliva, nasal secretions, and feces. Susceptible birds become infected when they contact the virus after it is shed by infected birds. Birds also can become infected through contact with surfaces that are contaminated with virus from infected birds.
Wild birds that typically carry the virus include waterbirds (such as ducks, geese, swans, gulls, and terns), and shorebirds (such as plovers, and sandpipers). Dabbling ducks such as (mallards, pintails, and wigeons) serve as reservoirs hosts for avian influenza A viruses although it often does not cause disease in these species.