Nov 3, 2022 – The ABQ BioPark would like to remind our guests to refrain from feeding wild birds, including at the Zoo, Botanic Garden and Tingley Beach, due to the recent highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) outbreak, also known as avian flu. This avian flu has been spreading nationwide among wild and domestic birds since spring, and has been positively identified in New Mexico.
Anything that encourages birds to gather at this time puts them at risk, but together, we can take all measures to help minimize the spread of this virus among birds.
What the BioPark is doing
We have temporarily moved birds in our care to their indoor homes and also covered many of our bird habitats to help protect them from exposure to wild birds. The Penguin Chill habitat is closed at this time. We have also closed our duck feeding stations. All staff working with birds are adhering to heightened biosecurity measures including personal protective equipment. (PPE).
What you can do at the BioPark
Please do not feed birds or do anything that causes wild birds to gather together.
What you can do at home
Do not feed wild birds and refrain from refilling any birdfeeders or water sources you may have at home until this dangerous outbreak passes.
Bird owners should increase their biosecurity measures and ensure that their birds do not have the opportunity to come into contact with wild birds.Since HPAI may be carried by wild migrating birds, there is no way to prevent it entirely. Although any bird can catch HPAI, some species are more susceptible. Wood ducks, gadwalls, geese and swans are all highly susceptible, while eared grebes, laughing gulls, kestrels, peregrine falcons, chickens, turkeys, pheasants, quails, ducks, guinea fowl and any raptor or scavenger that has fed on meat from infected waterfowl are moderately susceptible.
The virus is not easily transmitted to people, and human cases of avian flu infections are rare. As a precaution, the ABQ BioPark advises people not to handle dead or sick birds, especially if they live in an area known to have positive HPAI cases.
New Mexico bird owners should report sick birds or unusual bird deaths to the State Veterinarian at 505-841-6161 or 505-414-2811, or the local USDA office at 505-313-8050.
We will let you know when it is safe to feed wild birds again. In the meantime, you can review this article, which will guide you toward healthy bird foods.