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Bird flu infects an eagle and owl in Minnesota

Two bald eagles were found dead in Vermont and tested positive for the highly pathogenic avian...
Two bald eagles were found dead in Vermont and tested positive for the highly pathogenic avian influenza, known as bird flu. - File photo(WCAX)
Published: Apr. 15, 2022 at 6:09 PM CDT
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MINN. (KTTC) –The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) reports six cases of bird flu outbreaks in wild birds.

  • Canada Goose in Blue Earth
  • Mallard in Hennepin County
  • Mallard in Anoka County (2)
  • Bald Eagle in Dakota County
  • Great horned owl in Kandiyohi County

The bird flu scare has the National Eagle Center in Wabasha taking precautions to prevent any spread to its four birds.

“We are just keeping them indoors all the time right now to minimize any potential exposures. We are still doing programming with the ambassadors, but all of that is being done indoors. And we are also making sure any of our guests or visitors when they’re here for those programs, are not getting anywhere near the birds themselves,” said Ed Hahn, National Eagles Center marketing manager.

The International Owl Center in Houston cares for six owls. None of the center’s owls have contracted the flu either.

“We are being very careful. Staff have work-only shoes, we are mopping the floor at the Owl Center every night after we close, and we make sure that all water pans in aviaries are underneath solid roofs. We also had discussions about IF the Illinois Raptor Center should come to our International Festival of Owls April 30 with their live owls. After a lot of discussion and making sure their birds will not be near our owls, poultry or waterfowl, they made the decision to come,” said Karla Bloem, International Owl Center executive director.

The bird flu has been detected in 40 turkey flocks in Minnesota.

Hahn said there are ways people can help prevent the spread of the virus.

“People are asking should I take down my bird feeders? And right now the recommendation as I understand them is to take down bird feeders simply because it will discourage birds from gathering together in large groups. Thankfully bird flu is not transmitted through the air, it’s transmitted through bodily fluids,” he said. “And when you have lots of birds that are at bird feeders obviously getting their beaks and mouths all on the same stuff.”

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