Think Wild, a nonprofit wildlife hospital in Bend, usually houses 30 to 40 mallards in their “waterfall enclosure.” But right now the pen remains empty.
That’s because the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife recently banned the rehabilitation of water birds. The reason: avian influenza — bird flu.
Even if Think Wild is eventually given approval by ODFW to rehabilitate water foul, the cleaning procedures will continue to be different for those specific birds —mainly cleaning food dishes outside of the enclosure.
These precautions help mitigate the spread of the avian influenza, which carries out a death rate of 90% among birds.
RELATED: Bird flu stopping many Oregon wildlife rehab centers from taking waterfowl
RELATED: Bird flu in Oregon: What to watch for and how to protect yourself, flock
While the bird flu is transferable to humans and other mammals, the main symptoms humans experience are similar to a cold.
Domestic birds on the other hand, like chickens and exotic pets, are at high risk of infection and death.
“A good way to mitigate the spread of this to your birds at home is to cover every part of the top of your aviaries so if a bird passing by poops on that area, it doesn’t go into your enclosure,” said Pauline Hice, Director of Wildlife rehabilitation with Think Wild. “As well as keep the area very clean.”
If someone suspects a bird has avian influenza or does not want to risk infection, Think Wild’s hotline is (541) 241-8680. The hotline will walk people through what to do or it will send out a team with the proper equipment to assist the animal.