Protecting Birds from Avian Flu

Posted April 22, 2022

The Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden’s Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) Task Force has been monitoring cases of avian flu in the area and implementing precautionary measures based on the proximity of affected birds.  After a new case 35 miles away was reported yesterday, the task force decided to move all at-risk birds inside.

“It’s a temporary measure meant to reduce our flock’s exposure to wild birds,” said Cincinnati Zoo’s curator of birds and task force leader Jenny Gainer. “The threat level should diminish after the spring migration. We have established a comprehensive protocol that will guide our decisions on when to return birds to their outdoor spaces.”

The current HPAI outbreak originated on the East Coast earlier this year and has continued to spread west.  Avian flu is an infectious disease of birds that causes a wide variety of symptoms including nasal discharge, weakness, and diarrhea. Migratory and shorebirds are the primary carriers of the virus.

“None of our birds have symptoms, and our goal is to keep it that way,” said Gainer.

Birds now inside include bald eagles, saddle-billed stork, gray crowned crane, Eurasian eagle owl, barred owl, white-naped pheasant pigeons, Little blue penguins, African penguins, trumpeter swans, kea, vultures, guineafowl, and Andean condors. Birds of the World habitats “South America” and “Australasia” are closed to guests until further notice. Check for an updated list before your visit.

The Zoo opens daily at 10 a.m. Early Entry allows members to enter at 9 a.m.