Avian flu cases are still spreading in wild birds in the Willamette Valley. As a result, wildlife rehabilitation centers can no longer accept sick or injured waterfowl.
Stephanie Herman with Portland Audubon says bringing in waterfowl right now carries too much of a risk for the birds already at the facilities.
The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife is asking anybody who sees sick or dead wild waterfowl not to intervene, but instead to report it to either the local ODFW office or the Wildlife Health Lab.
“Or if they feel they must intervene, with waterfowl specifically, they can take them to Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, rather than Portland Audubon, where they can at least be euthanized so that they’re not suffering,” Herman said.
Officials are also asking people not to feed wild birds for now. That can encourage birds to congregate, thereby potentially increasing the spread of the disease.
Related: Avian flu spreads to wild birds in Oregon’s Willamette Valley
Waterfowl typically carry the virus, but it can also infect the birds that prey on or consume sick or dead waterfowl.
While avian flu is very contagious and is deadly for some birds, the risk to humans is low according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Learn more from the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture on symptoms, risks and prevention avian flu.
Correction: An earlier version of this story misstated which birds Portland Audubon is accepting. Although the nonprofit is not taking waterfowl, Portland Audubon continues to accept other native wild birds.