Answer: There is currently no evidence that suggests you could become infected with highly pathogenic avian influenza virus by feeding backyard birds. Generally, songbirds, or perching birds, (Passeriformes) are the primary type of birds at feeders, and they are usually not affected by HPAI. Most wild birds traditionally associated with avian influenza viruses are waterfowl, shorebirds and scavengers. It is unlikely that bird feeders will contribute to an outbreak among songbirds, but if someone also has backyard poultry, then we recommend removing bird feeders during the outbreak. Songbirds are susceptible to other avian diseases. Therefore, we recommend that people without backyard poultry who feed birds routinely, clean their feeders and bird baths, and anyone who comes in direct contact with bird droppings should thoroughly wash their hands with soap and water.
Indiana Department of Natural Resources (IN DNR) – Fish and Wildlife, Avian Flu: What is the risk to people? Very few types of AI can infect humans. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) considers the risk to people from AI viruses to be low. To date, no human AI infections have been detected in the United States. The U.S. has a strong AIV surveillance program that has been in place for many years.
Cornell Bird Lab: Avian Influenza Outbreak: Should You Take Down Your Bird Feeders?
Utah Division of Wildlife Resources: Is there any risk of becoming infected with highly pathogenic avian influenza virus by feeding backyard birds or cleaning a bird feeder?
The National Audubon Society
Birds and Residential Window Strikes: Tips for Prevention, The Education Store, Purdue Extension resource center
Breeding Birds and Forest Management: the Hardwood Ecosystem Experiment and the Central Hardwoods Region, The Education Store
Putting a Little Wildlife in Your Backyard This Spring, The Education Store
It’s For the Birds, Indiana Yard and Garden-Purdue Consumer Horticulture
Managing Woodlands for Birds Video, Purdue Extension-Forestry and Natural Resources YouTube Channel
Brian MacGowan, Wildlife Extension Specialist
Purdue Forestry and Natural Resources