[Mnbird] HPAI

Tami Vogel tvogel at wrcmn.org
Mon May 16 11:02:24 CDT 2022

Hi Everyone,

This outbreak of HPAI (highly pathogenic avian influenza) has been a learning curve for everyone. We are incredibly fortunate to have one of the labs who can do the initial HPAI matrix testing right here at the UMN. The Veterinary Diagnostic Lab has been wonderful to work with and are sending all positive results to the National Veterinary Services Lab in Ames, Iowa for confirmation.

Trisha is correct, we've had crows test positive but so far the only jays we know of are the ones in Nova Scotia from a couple months ago. Magpies and ravens have also tested positive in other states, so corvids are considered susceptible. A single common grackle tested positive in a Western state.

Because of this it's critical to leave fledgling crows on the ground, who appear healthy, with their families. Healthy birds should not come to us.  If the bird is losing its balance, convulsing or having odd neck/head contortions then it should come to us. Please take appropriate precautions when handling the bird.

We've done random testing of songbirds who present similar symptoms (head trauma resulting from window strikes can look very similar) and so far none have tested positive.

We're working with other wildlife hospitals and rehabilitation centers across the nation to keep one another in the loop on HPAI positive species.

The MNDNR is the main go-to for reporting and monitoring of diseases in the state. They are doing a great job compiling all the data from various sources. I'm sure you saw the news release about HPAI and fox. It's been a very sad year for fox kits - nearly all of them have been admitted dead or dying.  (https://www.dnr.state.mn.us/news/2022/05/11/wild-fox-minnesota-tests-positive-highly-pathogenic-avian-influenza)

You can keep an eye on positive wild bird species via this website (it reflects agency-tested birds, not ours and other wildlife hospitals):


Tami Vogel

Communications Director

Wildlife Rehabilitation Center of Minnesota



Twitter/IG    @WRCMN

From: Mnbird <mnbird-bounces at lists.mnbird.net> on behalf of Trisha * via Mnbird <mnbird at lists.mnbird.net>
Sent: Monday, May 16, 2022 10:29 AM
To: Alan Stankevitz <alan at iwishicouldfly.com>
Cc: Karen Larson <kslarson29 at gmail.com>; MARY ANN MCDOUGAL <11921 at comcast.net>; MnBird <mnbird at lists.mnbird.net>
Subject: Re: [Mnbird] RHWP

Alan, thanks for the article.
It states the WRC found a positive Crow, not a Blue Jay, so I had to go back and look on their FB page. Sure enough, it was a Crow! Just wanted to correct my previous statement!

From the WRC Facebook page, it says they are paying for their testing… I sent them a note to find out if they are, or ever were, testing asymptomatic song birds.


On May 16, 2022, at 9:57 AM, Trisha * <grommet94 at yahoo.com> wrote:

Agreed, and I’ve thought about this. However the only way to have found it in corvids was to test them. I think the real question is if anyone is testing asymptomatic birds.  I know the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center sent out a previously sick Blue Jay for testing and it came back positive.

I would have to think, with all the unknowns, that someone is testing asymtomatic birds, at least to help better understand which species/groups are carriers. It would be incredibly unresponsible to NOT test them when the resources are there. Makes one wonder though.


On May 16, 2022, at 9:42 AM, Alan Stankevitz <alan at iwishicouldfly.com> wrote:

Your points are well taken and I personally have not taken down my feeders but I am keeping a very keen eye on the health of our resident birds. So far, all is good. With that stated however, Laura Erickson posted on her blog a few weeks ago about the avian flu and the frustration of birds NOT being tested. You can easily say that there’s not been a case of a songbird testing positive because as far as I know, no one has been testing them. It’s a big unknown.

Here’s Laura’s post. Well worth the read:

Alan Stankevitz
Houston Co. MN

On May 16, 2022, at 9:06 AM, Trisha * via Mnbird <mnbird at lists.mnbird.net<mailto:mnbird at lists.mnbird.net>> wrote:

Here’s my two cents:

The only professional body that has made that recommendation is the Raptor Center, and their main concern is raptors. The Cornell Lab of Ornithology, the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center and the DNR, all of which put resources towards all species of birds, have not made similar statements.
I’m surprised, and maybe I shouldn’t be, that the Raptor Center made a statement and all of the media stations went with it without exploring what others professionals had to say….and naturally, the public followed suit without doing any homework.

Granted, there’s still more to be learned about this strain. However I don’t think there’s been a case of a songbird testing positive.

If someone lives near water and has fowl visiting their yard, or if they have backyard chickens, they should probably not be feeding seed or suet which can attract fowl and cause them to congregate, encouraging the spread of this disease.

Since corvids carry this disease, platform feeders and trays should likely also not be used. Removing my platforms and trays has greatly reduced the number of blue jays in my yard.  I now have a single pair of jays that will not leave, but they are not visiting my feeders any longer.


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