WILDLIFE

Tracy Aviary taking precautions to protect birds from avian influenza

Apr 18, 2022, 7:06 PM
bird flu utah bald eagles at farmington bay...
The spread of the avian flu has officials at Tracy Aviary taking precautions for its eagles and other exhibits. The avian flu is a disease that is spread from wild migrating birds to backyard animals such as chickens. The CDC confirmed Thursday the first human case of avian influenza in the U.S. Photo: Division of Wildlife Resources

SALT LAKE CITY — In wake of Monday’s announcement by the Department of Agriculture and Food that Avian Influenza (HPAI) has arrived in Utah, Tracy Aviary is taking precautions to prevent the spread of the disease to any of its birds.

Avian influenza

“The health and safety of our birds, staff, and guests is our number one priority,” said Curator of Exhibit Collections Tracy Aviary, Kate Lyngle-Cowand. “Since the virus poses a very low risk to humans, visiting Tracy Aviary is still very safe. However, this strain of HPAI is especially concerning for poultry, pheasant, and waterfowl species. And can be highly infectious and fatal to birds. So, we are taking several preventative measures that will help keep our resident birds healthy. ”

Officials with Tracy Aviary say guests will still be able to enjoy a majority of the park’s experiences. There are a few changes to ensure the safety of the birds at Tracy Aviary. Those changes are meant to limit encounters the birds at the park have with wild birds. 

Preventative measures

As a result, Tracy Aviary has closed two of its exhibits. Those exhibits house birds that are most at-risk for the virus. Those include the Kennecott Wetlands and Backyard Bird.

Additionally, netting has been put in place over other exhibits to prevent wild birds from congregating with birds that may be sensitive.

Tracy Aviary has also temporarily suspended some Roaming Encounters experiences.

“Many zoos across the United States have taken similar measures to ensure the safety of their birds and prevent the potential spread of the virus,” said Lyngle-Cowand. “We have been proactively planning our response to this virus for many years.”

Avian influenza is usually most contagious in densely populated spaces such as poultry farms.  Tracy Aviary is asking individuals who may have been in close proximity to backyard chicken flocks or poultry farms to refrain from visiting the indoor exhibits. 

Officials at Tracy Aviary say the virus in wild birds is of concern during the spring and fall migration seasons. Those migration seasons are March to May and August to October. 

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Tracy Aviary taking precautions to protect birds from avian influenza