OCONOMOWOC, Wis. — Wildlife In Need Center (WINC) will be limiting bird admissions due to the Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) that is spreading across Wisconsin and the country.
Due to HPAI, no waterfowl or aquatic birds of any age, eagles and vultures will be admitted. WINC says once HPAI "has run its course," the center will reevaluate when to resume admissions.
"It is of vital importance that you do not bring in a bird that needs help to our wildlife hospital until our team has talked with you directly via phone," WINC said in a statement Wednesday. "If you have found a sick, injured, or potentially orphaned wild animal in our service area, please call us at 262-965-3090 and leave a message. Our staff will respond to your call as soon as we are able."
WINC says migratory waterfowl and shorebirds are the natural reservoir for avian influenza viruses. This includes ducks, geese, swans, cormorants, chickens, turkeys, quails, guinea fowl, and more.
"The virus is shed in feces, saliva, and nasal discharges and causes a wide variety of signs in domestic birds, including nasal discharge, weakness, and diarrhea," WINC said in a statement. "The current strains of AI can also impact raptors that consume infected birds and can cause neurologic signs and high mortality rates in these species. The susceptibility of other species in our population to current strains of HPAI is less certain currently."
HPAI does not present a current public health concern and no human cases of avian influenza viruses have been detected in the United States.
WINC is reminding the public, the proper handling and cooking of poultry and eggs to an internal temperature of 165 ˚F kills bacteria and viruses.
The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is asking the public to contact them with reports of waterfowl, waterbirds, raptors (especially bald eagles) and avian scavengers such as crows, ravens and gulls showing tremors, circling movement, or holding their heads in an unusual position. These symptoms may be a sign of HPAI. These reports can be made to the DNR Wildlife Hotline by emailing DNRWildlifeSwitchboard@wi.gov or by leaving a voicemail message for a return phone call at 608-267-0866.