Bird Health Awareness Week – Know the Signs!

biosecurity2Whether you are a bird owner or simply a backyard bird watcher, there are many tips offered by the USDA on their website, Biosecurity for Birds, to help keep your birds healthy.

Established in 2004 in response to the exotic Newcastle disease(END) outbreak, Biosecurity for Birds hopes to educate backyard poultry and bird owners, as well as pet bird owners, about the steps to prevent infectious poultry diseases such as END and avian influenza (AI). Knowing how to spot contagious bird diseases is the first step.

If your bird shows unusual signs of disease or dies unexpectedly, call your avian veterinarian. For a list of specific END or AI symptoms, click here.

Even if you are simply a backyard bird enthusiast, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services needs your help. Some of the first signs of AI may appear in wild birds including waterfowl.

Wild migratory birds are a potential route for introduction of diseases to our country, and our hunters and bird watchers may be the first to see the warning signs. If you notice some irregularities in the local bird population, be sure to contact the proper authorities.

Bird Enthusiasts:

Do not pick up deceased or obviously sick birds. Contact your State, tribal, or Federal natural resources agency if you find sick or dead birds.

* Wear rubber gloves when cleaning your bird feeders.
* Wash hands with soap and water immediately after cleaning feeders.
* Do not eat, drink, or smoke while cleaning bird feeders.


Follow routine precautions when handling wild birds.

* Do not handle or consume game animals that are obviously sick or found dead.
* Do not eat, drink, or smoke while cleaning game.
* Wear rubber gloves when cleaning game.
* Wash hands with soap and water, or alcohol wipes, immediately after handling game.
* Wash tools and working surfaces with soap and water and then disinfect.
* Keep uncooked game in a separate container, away from cooked or ready-to-eat foods.
* Cook game meat thoroughly; poultry should reach an internal temperature of 165 degree Fahrenheit to kill disease
organisms and parasites.
* To report unusual signs in birds you have seen in the wild, call 1-866-4-USDA-WS. To learn more about how you can
help, visit

So during this week, November 3-9, 2014, National Bird Health Awareness Week, visit the USDA website and become more aware of your local avian population.

We Want to Hear from You!


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