Rescue Hotline: 503-338-0331
Please still call us with all wildlife emergencies, so we can make sure all animals we are able to admit gets the help they need!
H5N1 Avian Influenza
Due to an outbreak of a highly contagious and deadly strain of avian flu, the Wildlife Center of the North Coast (WCNC) per guidance from Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife (ODFW) has made some necessary changes to our policies. We are currently unable to accept any waterfowl.
We are not accepting patients outside of our normal operating hours and ask the public to please not bring us any wildlife without first speaking with one of our staff members.
About the Outbreak
Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) H5N1 is a disease naturally occurring in wild bird populations. It has a high mortality rate among chickens, turkeys, backyard poultry.
Wild birds that typically carry the virus include waterbirds, shorebirds, and dabbling ducks, the latter of which often remain asymptomatic acting as hosts for the virus. The disease also infects birds that prey upon or consume sick or dead waterfowl.
In Oregon, the wild birds species currently most at risk are waterfowl, shorebirds, eagles, and scavengers (like crows, gulls, and vultures).
As WCNC primarily admits avian patients in the species of concern (waterfowl, shorebirds, raptors that predate waterfowl), this poses a significant risk to our ability to care for patients and educational ambassador birds.
We have adopted protocols to minimize the risk to our captive residents while remaining open to admissions as instructed by ODFW.
These protocols will be reviewed continuously as we learn more about the disease and as we receive new guidance from Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife.
Clinical Signs of Infection
Clinical signs of avian influenza in wild birds include:
- Sudden death without clinical signs
- Lack of energy and appetite
- Swelling of head, eyelids, and hocks
- Nasal discharge, coughing, and sneezing
- Incoordination (neurological symptoms)
Temporary Intake Restrictions
Unfortunately, WCNC’s facilities are not equipped to treat active or suspected cases (which have a generally poor prognosis), so the rehab clinic must limit intakes to protect other patients and our education ambassadors.
We are currently unable to accept any waterfowl which are known to be asymptomatic carriers of the virus.
We are able to accept at risk species as long as they are not showing symptoms of infection, and we will be screening these patients outside of our clinic.
This policy is subject to change upon guidance from the state. We encourage the public to still call us with all wildlife emergencies.
Steps that may help reduce the spread of HPAI:
- Report dead wild birds, and other wildlife, to ODFW’s dead bird reporting hotline at 866-968-2600
- Prevent contact between domestic birds and wild birds, especially waterfowl. Exclude wild birds from accessing chicken or other domestic bird feed and water.
- Do not feed waterfowl or other waterbirds at park ponds as it may increase the congregation of birds and contribute to disease spread.
- Do not bring potentially sick wild birds home or move sick birds to another location.
- Before transporting potentially sick wild birds to wildlife rehabilitation centers, veterinary clinics, or other animal facilities, contact the facility for guidance and to determine if the bird should be collected.
- If recreating outdoors in areas with large concentrations of waterfowl and other waterbirds, wash clothing and disinfect footwear and equipment before traveling to other areas or interacting with domestic birds.
The state is asking that if you see sick or dead wild birds, to not collect or handle them but report the incident directly to ODFW at 866-968-2600 or Wildlife.Health@odfw.oregon.gov. ODFW staff will be conducting surveillance and collecting/testing sick and dead wild birds to monitor for the presence of the disease.
Please call our wildlife hotline at 503-338-0331 if you have questions about wildlife or HPAI.
US Outbreak Info & Updates
For current information about Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) detections throughout the United States.
Oregon HPAI Updates
For announcements on avian influenza in Oregon.
Anyone involved with poultry production from the small backyard to the large commercial producer should review their biosecurity activities to assure the health of their birds. USDA’s Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service Defend the Flock Resouce Center has materials about biosecurity, including videos, checklists, and a toolkit.
Oregon Department of Agriculture
Owners of domesticated backyard birds such as poultry can find tips on protecting their flocks on ODA’s website. If you have poultry that appears sick or has died of respiratory or neurological disease call 503-986-4711 (Alt Phone: 1-800-347-7028).
Hunters may come in contact with infected waterfowl during the hunting season and should always practice safe bird handling and cooking techniques, especially this season due to HPAI.
Falconers are advised to avoid hunting waterfowl and other waterbirds during the HPAI outbreak because of the risk it presents to raptors. HPAI is killing raptors that come into contact with infected avian prey or carcasses.
Backyard Bird Feeders
This strain of avian flu is not known to be a threat to songbirds, but keep your bird feeders clean and take them down if you see sick or dead birds near your feeder or in your neighborhood. Visit ODFW’s wildlife disease page on avian flu for tips on keeping your feeders clean & free of bacteria, and for reporting bird deaths.
Thank you for your Support
We are deeply saddened by this outbreak, and the necessary changes we have had to make limiting our patient intakes. Please consider a donation from our Amazon wishlist so we can continue caring for all of the animals we are still able to help.