Illinois Residents Can Resume Use of Bird Feeders, Baths After Officials Urged a Stop Due to Avian Flu

James Neveau/NBC 5

After more than a month, Illinois officials say that residents can once again put out their bird feeders and bird baths amid efforts to contain a virulent strain of avian flu.

The recommendation, which had been released in mid-April, urged Illinois residents to take down feeders and bird baths to help protect local bird populations from the virus, which has devastated wild waterfowl and domestic bird populations in numerous communities around the country.

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources had urged residents to take down those feeders and baths through May 31, but now says that they can be put back up.

“The IDNR would like to thank the public for their assistance and cooperation in potentially reducing the spread of (highly pathogenic avian influenza) during this critical time,” Chris Jacques, the agency’s wildlife disease program manager, said in a statement.

Residents are still being asked not to feed ducks or geese due to the spread of the EA H5N1 strain of bird flu, and poultry owners are also being asked to remain vigilant.

Those residents with bird feeders or bird baths on their property are being asked to keep those installations clean.

The bird flu strain has not been detected in songbird species, but has been detected in wild eagles, snow geese, American white pelicans and other waterfowl.

Significant die-offs of those birds were reported in Champaign, Cook, Fulton, Lake, Madison, Peoria, Sangamon and Will counties, according to IDNR officials.

Chickens and other poultry were also impacted by the virus, with thousands of the birds having to be killed in order to contain its spread in the state.

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