State wildlife officials on Thursday advised Illinois residents to temporarily take down bird feeders and bird baths to help curtail the spread of avian flu.
The Illinois Department of Natural Resources recommended halting the use of bird feeders — especially those visited by waterfowl — through May 31, or until bird flu cases subside in the Midwest. During the spring, birds will have ample food sources while feeders are removed, wildlife experts say.
A highly contagious form of bird flu was first detected March 10 in wild Canada geese in Illinois. Since then, virus deaths have been confirmed among wild birds in Champaign, Fulton, Sangamon and Will counties.
Bird flu viruses are classified as low pathogenic or highly pathogenic based on their genetic features and the severity of the disease in poultry.
More than 40 bald eagles in 15 states have died from bird flu, including one in Will County, according to the USDA.
IDNR is requesting that deceased or sickened bald eagles be reported to the agency.