Bird Flu Update
This morning, the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources (DWR) veterinarian reached out to the Great Salt Lake Bird Festival (GSLBF) planning committee with an update on the spread of Avian Influenza (bird flu) in the state of Utah. Until recently, Avian Influenza had only been detected in captive birds in Utah. However, several days ago, the disease was found in a wild bird and continues to spread in the wild. Avian Influenza is most commonly found in wild ducks, shorebirds, turkeys, quail, and raptors that feed on these birds. The disease spreads rapidly and has a very high mortality rate.
Because the GSLBF Family Day is held at the Eccles Wildlife Education Center in the midst of a beautiful wetland, the state veterinarian has recommended that local wildlife organizations do not bring live birds to the festival this year. With so many wild birds nearby, and many people coming and going from field trips that visit areas with high concentrations of birds, the risk to captive birds is too great.
Fortunately, all of our wonderful workshop presenters are still planning to deliver fantastic presentations that the whole family can enjoy. You won’t want to miss the opportunity to learn new things, try fun activities, and explore nature through interactive experiences during GSLBF Family Day!
If you would like to know more about Avian Influenza, including what to do if you see a dead bird, you can visit the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources Avian Influenza page (https://wildlife.utah.gov/avian-influenza.html).
Bird watchers participating in programs and field trips at the GSLBF can reduce the risk to birds by using the following tips.
- Wipe down the soles of shoes worn in the field with Clorox wipes or rubbing alcohol between site visits.
- Shower each night and wear a fresh set of clothes each day of the festival.
- Be mindful of bird droppings as they can harbor Avian Influenza for over 30 days.
- Give wild birds plenty of space. Stay on marked trails or roads whenever possible.
- If you see a sick or dead bird, do not touch it. Follow the Utah DWR guidelines for reporting potential cases of bird flu.