Avian influenza has been confirmed in two wild raptor species in Indiana, according to the DNR Division of Fish & Wildlife (DFW). Diagnostic testing on the raptors was done at Purdue’s Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory, where the birds tested positive with the (HP) H5N1 strain that is circulating in North America.
The individual raptors that tested positive were one bald eagle each from Starke and Miami counties, and a red-tailed hawk from Johnson County.
Since the beginning of the year, avian influenza has been detected in raptors in multiple states.
In light of spring turkey hunting season, which starts tomorrow, Michelle Benavidez Westrich, a DFW wildlife health biologist, said that the current H5N1 strain has not been detected in wild turkeys, and she does not expect that to happen.
“While wild turkeys are presumed susceptible, the likelihood of wild turkeys catching this disease is very low; it has never occurred in Indiana,” she said.
As always, meat harvested from wild birds in the state, as long as it is handled properly and cooked to an internal temperature of 165F, does not present a food safety risk.
Avian influenza has been detected in various wild water birds in multiple states this year. A redhead duck collected from Dubois County by the USDA tested positive for the H5N1 strain earlier in 2022. The DFW is partnering with USDA-Wildlife Services to increase surveillance efforts throughout the state. People who see waterfowl or raptors that are dead or appear sick are asked to report them using the DNR online reporting tool: on.IN.gov/sickwildlife
Additional information about avian influenza in wild birds, bird feeder care, and more advice on how you can help prevent the spread of avian influenza and other bird diseases is at bit.ly/3vRh7dX