• Welcome to BirdForum, the internet's largest birding community with thousands of members from all over the world. The forums are dedicated to wild birds, birding, binoculars and equipment and all that goes with it.

    Please register for an account to take part in the discussions in the forum, post your pictures in the gallery and more.
Feel the intensity, not your equipment. Maximum image quality. Minimum weight. The new ZEISS SFL, up to 30% less weight than comparable competitors.

Any (feasible) way to keep feeders up safely with avian flu around? (1 Viewer)

Tired

Well-known member
United States
My cat and I have been enjoying watching the birds at the feeders I have set up, but that's not safe any more, because of the avian flu in the US. I'll say it right now: if there's no reasonable way to do this, I'll take the feeders down in a heartbeat and keep 'em in until the avian flu is gone. But I'm wondering if there's any way I can keep at least one thing up.

If I were to sterilize a feeder between every individual bird, and make sure only one bird was ever on the feeder at once, that would be safe. It would be ridiculous and basically impossible, but it would work. So I'm wondering if there's anything I can do that would be less ridiculous, while still being, if not completely safe, at least no more of a disease spread risk than any given popular-with-birds bush.

I have one feeder that's a little dish for seeds, with a perch around it. If I were to change out the dish every day, discard the old seeds, wipe the perch down with bleach at the same time, and keep just that feeder up, would that be okay? Obviously a sick bird landing next to a healthy bird can't be prevented by bleach, at least not by any ethical usage of it, but the feeder's pretty small and I've only ever seen one species of bird on it at a time.

How long does the avian flu live on surfaces? And does 10% bleach kill it, if the bleach has long enough before evaporating? I know bleach kills most things.

If I want to go to a park that has a lot of birds, is there anything other than bleach I can clean my shoes with, to kill any possible fomites? We have bleach wipes, but I'm asking about other options because I'm not sure I trust myself to not absent-mindedly get bleach on my clothes somehow. I don't recall if the wipes we have are color-safe. Rubbing alcohol works on shoes, right?
 

Ruff

Two birds in one.
Due to getting suburban squirrels in plague numbers, I've already had to reduce my feeder numbers from 4 down to one-- they were all squirrel proof, spillage was the problem. Anyway, I noticed that birds had stopped coming, even the local chickadees that normally own it, and it occurred to me, possibly too late, that it might be a focal point for avian flu and so I emptied it, probably too late. Still, birds do disappear sometimes with no flu involved and it's migration season here- the flu's going to be everywhere no matter what.
 

Tired

Well-known member
United States
So far, it's only had one sighting in Texas, over a month ago, in a commercial poultry farm. Doesn't seem to be spreading here, or if it is, it's being damn sneaky.
 

Tired

Well-known member
United States
With regular diseases, sure, but a lot of reputable sources seem to be recommending that anyone in areas with the avian flu take their feeders down. Not encouraging different species of birds to be in the same area seems like good practice in the event of a bird pandemic. Like how cleaning buffet tables regularly is usually sufficient, but closing buffets entirely in the event of a human pandemic is still important.
 

raymie

Well-known member
United States
With regular diseases, sure, but a lot of reputable sources seem to be recommending that anyone in areas with the avian flu take their feeders down. Not encouraging different species of birds to be in the same area seems like good practice in the event of a bird pandemic. Like how cleaning buffet tables regularly is usually sufficient, but closing buffets entirely in the event of a human pandemic is still important.
At this time, there is no evidence that cleaning feeders is not sufficient for controlling HPAI spread at your feeders. There's just as many reputable sources saying taking down feeders is not necessary as there are those that are telling you to take them down. So I say, do whatever makes you feel most comfortable. For me, that's leaving my feeders out but carefully watching for new news.
 

Tired

Well-known member
United States
Can't the avian flu spread between birds if one bird sneezes on another? I coulda sworn I read that it can be droplet-borne for them.
 

Users who are viewing this thread

Top