Avian flu now affecting raptor population in the Finger Lakes

The Finger Lakes region continues to feel the effect of avian influenza, or bird flu.

Related: Sad day for Sampson State Park: Bald eagle infected with avian influenza has been euthanized

Montezuma Audubon Center Director Chris Lajewski told us on Inside the FLX Tuesday that the illness, potentially fatal to birds, had been largely confined to poultry flocks, but has now spread to other birds.

What can we do to limit the spread?

Lajewski says we can help limit the spread of avian influenza by taking down our bird feeders.

Related: Avian Influenza presents a threat to poultry flocks

According to the World Organisation for Animal Health “with devastating consequences for the poultry industry, farmer’s livelihoods, international trade, and the health of wild birds, avian influenza, most commonly known as ‘bird flu, has captured the attention of the international community over the years.  Where outbreaks occur, it is often the policy to cull all poultry, whether infected or healthy, to contain the spread of avian influenza. This represents heavy economic losses for farmers and a long-lasting impact on their livelihoods.  

But poultry is not the only impact. While they play a major role in the spread of the disease, wild birds also become victims of bird flu viruses. Avian influenza is also a major concern for public health. Whenever avian influenza viruses circulate in poultry, sporadic cases of avian influenza in humans are sometimes identified.”

The spread of avian influenza began to increase in the 1990s when the world poultry population grew considerably.

Watch our full Inside the FLX conversation with Chris Lajewski below.