By Jessica Mathews /

A Michigan wildlife expert says temporarily removing outdoor feeders could help reduce potentials spread of the highly pathogenic avian influenza – commonly referred to as “bird flu”.

Avian influenza has been confirmed in at least five counties including Livingston, Kalamazoo, Macomb, Menominee and Washtenaw according to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. It can infect a variety of birds, including chickens, turkeys, pheasants, quail, ducks, geese and wild birds.

State Wildlife Veterinarian Megan Moriarty says removing outdoor bird feeders “isn't yet a critical step” in preventing bird flu but it might make sense. She said it is important to note that while all birds are potentially susceptible to the disease, some are more likely than others to become infected and die. Domestic birds and some wild birds, like waterfowl, raptors and scavengers, are highly susceptible and have been particularly affected by the disease.

Moriarty says “Current research suggests songbirds are less susceptible to highly pathogenic avian influenza and are unlikely to play a significant role in spreading the virus. However, much remains unknown, and surveillance and testing for HPAI in this group of birds is less common, resulting in a knowledge gap”.

The risk to people for avian flu is considered to be low.

The flu was discovered in a pair of domestic parrots in Washtenaw County, the latest detection reported this week by the DNR.

More information is provided in the web link. Facebook photo.