Biosecurity and Wild Birds

The most severe form of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) seen in other parts of the world has not been found in the United States, but the global spread of viruses poses a threat to wild birds and domestic poultry. Wild migratory birds are a potential route for introduction and our hunters and bird watchers may be the first to see the warning signs.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services needs their help in keeping an eye out for HPAI. Some of the first signs of AI may appear in wild birds including waterfowl. These include the unexplained die-offs of birds or birds showing signs of being sick.

Bird Enthusiasts:

Do not pick up deceased or obviously sick birds. Contact your State, tribal, or Federal natural resources agency if you find sick or dead birds.

  • Wear rubber gloves when cleaning your bird feeders.
  • Wash hands with soap and water immediately after cleaning feeders.
  • Do not eat, drink, or smoke while cleaning bird feeders.


Follow routine precautions when handling wild birds.

  • Do not handle or consume game animals that are obviously sick or found dead.
  • Do not eat, drink, or smoke while cleaning game.
  • Wear rubber gloves when cleaning game.
  • Wash hands with soap and water, or alcohol wipes, immediately after handling game.
  • Wash tools and working surfaces with soap and water and then disinfect.
  • Keep uncooked game in a separate container, away from cooked or ready-to-eat foods.
  • Cook game meat thoroughly; poultry should reach an internal temperature of 165 degree Fahrenheit to kill disease organisms and parasites.
  • To report unusual signs in birds you have seen in the wild, call 1-866-4-USDA-WS. To learn more about how you can help, visit