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Bird flu concerns in the Treasure Valley

Posted at 5:29 PM, May 02, 2024
and last updated 2024-05-02 19:29:06-04

BOISE, Idaho — The feathered residents of the Ruth Melichar Bird Center in Boise are being rigorously checked for bird flu following a disastrous year in 2022.

  • The neurological condition can be a death sentence for birds, and the virus could potentially be dangerous to humans.
  • To prevent the spread in 2022, the organization had to humanely put down a flock of ducklings, an awful result for a group that dedicates their time to caring for birds.
  • The fact that the disease can spread to other species has the group adopting strict sanitation policies.

(Verbatim of the story that aired is below)

These tiny residents of the Ruth Melichar Bird Center in Boise are nervous ... because of an intruding news camera. But they have other reasons to be concerned.

"It was a nightmare it was very sad never seen anything like that at our center before. It was very sad."

Jennifer Rockwell is talking about the devastating bird flu incident of 2022.

"We probably had 112 ducklings at that point and every single day, maybe every hour, I was finding an infected bird. and that was not fun."

The neurological condition is a death sentence with an ugly ending.

"Spinning spinning of the neck of the body spinning around"

To prevent the spread, the entire flock had to be humanely put down, an awful result for people who spend their days trying to save and care for birds.

And this year Rockwell is very concerned about a repeat although it seems so far, others are more concerned about the spread of H5N1 in cows.

The fact it can spread to different species has Rockwell urging strict sanitation practices among workers and volunteers.

"Zoonosis is a real threat to humans of course so we always take precautions."

She says anyone who finds an injured bird should not handle it and will be asked if the bird is exhibiting signs of bird flu.

If so, for the sake of these other youngsters, the bird won't be accepted.