Highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) H5N1 Eurasian variant (bird flu) has been detected in domestic and wild birds in multiple states within the Atlantic and Mississippi Migratory Flyways (a migratory flyway is the flight path used by birds between their breeding grounds and their overwintering sites).
Most wild birds found with this virus are waterfowl that typically show no signs of illness but may play a role in spreading the virus to other birds, including domestic and wild species. Domestic poultry such as chickens, quail, pheasants, guinea fowl, and turkeys can become seriously ill from HPAI with a mortality (death) rate of 90% or higher.
According to the USDA, there is no evidence that birdfeeders, or the birds that frequent them, contribute to the spread of HPAI. For more information, please visit the USDA’s website.
Additional information about Avian Influenza and Wild Birds can be found here: USDA APHIS | Avian Influenza and Wild Birds. Current information about detections of HPAI in the U.S. can be found at: USDA APHIS | 2022 Detections of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza.
The CDC has released a statement that HPAI H5N1 currently poses a low risk to the public: https://www.cdc.gov/flu/avianflu/spotlights/2021-2022/bird-flu-poses-low-risk-public.htm
Remember to enjoy wildlife from a distance and do not handle wildlife unless hunting, trapping, or otherwise authorized to do so. Please do not approach or touch sick or dead wild animals. If you MUST handle a sick or dead bird, wear gloves and wash your hands afterward, and please report the bird to the PA Game Commission at 717-787-4250.
Any sudden and/or unexplained illness or deaths involving domestic birds should be reported to the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture at 717-772-2852. More information about avian influenza in domestic birds, along with additional links to state and federal resources, can be found at: https://www.agriculture.pa.gov/Animals/AHDServices/diseases/avian_influenza/Pages/default.aspx.
For general information about Avian Influenza, please refer to the Wildlife Futures Avian Influenza fact sheet.