Ask-a-Birder: Bird Feeders and Avian Flu

Update February 23, 2023:

There has been an uptick in reported cases of Avian Influenza in Texas, however still none reported in Travis County. The Cornell Lab has updated its recommendations as of February 14, 2023. The most impacted wild bird species include waterfowl and raptors, but transmission to songbirds is currently low risk. However, it is essential to keep your bird feeders clean. Follow these instructions to ensure you’re keeping your feeders clean.

If you find sick or dead birds in Travis County, please report them to Travis Audubon at

Travis Audubon receives many bird questions throughout the year, and we recently received the following question from Lori:

I have been feeding lesser goldfinches in my backyard. Recently, I was reading about avian, bird flu, and I am concerned that my feeders might be a bad idea with regard to protecting the birds from infection. Do you have any advice regarding backyard, birdfeeders and goldfinches?

Our Ask-a-Birder expert, Noreen Baker, helped with some sound advice:

I checked the Cornell website for info on whether it’s safe to keep your bird feeders up, and their recommendation is that it’s OK unless you also have domestic poultry on your property. See their full recommendations here: Avian Influenza Outbreak: Should You Take Down Your Bird Feeders?

You can also follow info on where bird flu is most active on various websites such as these:

USDA APHIS | 2022 Detections of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza in Wild Birds

H5N1 Bird Flu Detections across the United States (Wild Birds) | Avian Influenza (Flu) (

It looks like there is currently very little to moderate activity in Texas depending on which website you look at, but if you scroll through the list of reported cases, you can see that very few of them are songbirds, which is consistent with Cornell’s information. Of course, the situation could always change, so it would be a good idea to keep tabs on the situation by checking the above websites every now and then. 

It is also always a good idea to keep your feeders clean to prevent disease transmission. The following website provides a good description of how to keep your feeders clean: 

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