For the Birds …

on this cold April morning

birdsong fills the air

instead of bringing joy this year

it seems to signal despair

a warning of dire times ahead

*

birds april 14 2022 3

9:24 AM, April 14, 2022

*

birds appear to know something we don’t

trying desperately to tell us before it’s too late

flocking to places that they hope they’ll be safe

to fly free, find a sanctuary, food, and a mate

lives threatened by the cost of hubris and greed

by humans who think they can improve nature

by tinkering with seed

I wonder as I listen to birdsong and cries

if the world of the future will grow silent

and dreary with beauty’s demise

***

3:47 PM, April 14, 2022

“Amid outbreaks of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI), the University of Minnesota’s Raptor Center is urging individuals to help mitigate its spread by taking down their bird feeders and other apparatus that birds use to congregate.” Source: Kare11.com

2022 HPAI Background

“The United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) confirmed several findings of the presence of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in wild waterfowl in the Atlantic flyways in January 2022. On February 8, 2022 APHIS confirmed H5N1 HPAI in a commercial turkey flock in Dubois County, Indiana. Since then it has been confirmed in multiple states and flock types. The USDA updates the latest HPAI detections on its website.

“The first cases of H5N1 in Minnesota were confirmed on March 25, 2022.

“The virus has not caused human illness. According to the CDC, Recent Bird Flu Infections in U.S. Wild Birds and Poultry Pose a Low Risk to the Public.

bird flu area spring 2022

Edited Screenshot to show Duluth in relation to HPAI outbreak areas – Source

25 thoughts on “For the Birds …

  1. So far, our feeders draw no commercial turkeys and everyone else out there seems inctedibly vitalic. ☺️ My feeders stay up until May 1. Or ’til a stray bear. 😬🤞 Happy Easter. 🌷🌝♥️

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    1. Thank you for feeding the birds, UM. My feeders are still up, too. Otherwise, there wouldn’t be enough food here for so many birds, especially in the snow. I can’t remember seeing so many during previous springs. Sending you wishes for a happy Easter as well. 💜

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  2. Yes, I am torn about whether to keep our feeders up or not. This is the first year we’ve had them and it’s so fun to see all the new wildlife they attract to our yards, yet we don’t want to cause harm, either. John Myers had a good story recently in the news tribune about the bird flu issue.

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    1. I was worried about keeping feeders up as well, Marie, but decided to leave them up for now. I can’t remember seeing so many birds arrive in previous springs, and there’s not enough to feed them here otherwise.

      And thank you for the info about John Myers’ article. He did mention that songbirds have not been affected by the flu yet. “While some wildlife experts have suggested homeowners take in their bird feeders to help prevent the spread of the disease among songbirds, so far not a single songbird has been reported with the disease in any state” (Myers, April 15, 2022, para. 9). That’s hopeful news. And it’s snowing again!

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  3. For the love of birds and health of our planet, may their songs bring wisdom, peace and hope to humanity… We need all the help we can get. Easter love and blessings to you and yours, Carol. ❤ xo

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thanks for sharing this warning about the outbreak of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI). According to the link you’ve so kindly shared, California has not yet been affected. I took down my hummingbird feeder some years ago when I noticed that someone or some animal was tampering with it.

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    1. Thank you for your thoughtful comments, Ros. I’m grateful to hear that California has been spared from bird flu, and it’s sad that you had to take down your hummingbird feeder. They are so amazing! It is always challenging to figure out what’s best for animals.

      It’s also interesting to see how the environment changes even in residential neighborhoods. I left the feeders empty for the past year. For years, feral cats roamed free here, but they suddenly disappeared a couple years ago. It was safer for birds, but rats and hordes of rabbits quickly arrived creating a different set of issues. I stopped filling feeders early last winter after rescuing a rat that got his/her leg caught in the metal pole that held the feeders. I think the rats have gone elsewhere for now. And when what seemed like hundreds of birds arrived this spring, it seemed like the right time to fill them again. It’s so hard to know the right thing to do in times like there, but for now, I am leaving the feeders filled. It’s snowing again…

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  5. We used to have a bird feeder near the house, but squirrels and cats that abound here are voracious (in the case of squirrels) and dangerous to birds (the cats). Still great fans of those survivors from the days of the dinosaurs.

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    1. I do understand the problem with cats. The feral cats in my neighborhood seemed to do little damage to the birds, but they did keep rats and rabbits at bay. When the cats disappeared a couple years ago, the rats and rabbits moved in. I think the rats moved on, but the rabbits are still here, but that’s another story…

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  6. Thanks for putting up your sources. I gave them a read through. It sounds like commercial birds like turkeys are badly effected. In such a case it is only a matter of time before it spills over to wild birds. The same is true with British Columbia farmed salmon passing on sea lice and illness to wild salmon. I don’t put out feeders, instead, I leave my sunflowers standing over winter and get great joy watching the birds harvest the seeds. Take care.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for reading the sources, Bob! It seems that raptors and ducks have already been affected, but as far as I know, songbirds have not been yet. I feel really sad about birds in commercial settings. How could they be healthy? It sounds like the same situation for farmed salmon. I did stop putting up feeders for awhile due to cats and rats, but that’s another story or two. This spring, so many songbirds arrived. I don’t remember seeing as many in previous years, They followed me whenever I went outside, hopping from branch to branch, chirping excitedly as if telling me to feed them. So I did – before I learned about the bird flu situation from a friend. There’s not much else here for them to eat. Sunflowers don’t even last a season before squirrels (and possibly racoons) get them, and the crabapples and mountain ash berries are long gone. I don’t want them to starve, and they’ve been emptying both feeders in less than a day! Of course, the squirrels and common grackles are at work on seeds, too.
      Sending my best wishes. 💜

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    1. Thank you so much for your always kind and lovely comments, Takami. I know how much you love birds! It is heartbreaking on many levels. Sending gratitude and best wishes to you! 💜

      Liked by 1 person

        1. It is true that it will take a community, Michael – the challenge we face in these divisive times is figuring how to build one that is truly inclusive… I know we are both doing our best on that level, too. 💜

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