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State warns people not to touch dead birds as outbreak of bird flu grows in Michigan

The Brooklyn Bird Club spotted a common grackle perched on a bird feeder on Feb. 16.
The Brooklyn Bird Club spotted a common grackle perched on a bird feeder on Feb. 16.

Following the latest reported outbreaks of avian flu, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources is advising people not to handle sick or dead wild birds.

On Monday, the state confirmed cases of highly pathogenic avian flu in some domestic parrots found dead in a Washtenaw County home.

Last week, officials verified infections in a backyard poultry flock in neighboring Livingston County. The CDC says the transmission risk to humans is low.

Still, wildlife veterinary specialist Dr. Megan Moriarty with the DNR says people living near outbreak sites may want to take precautions.

“For example, taking down your bird feeder or cleaning your bird feeder would be something that people could do out of an abundance of caution.”

Moriarty says avian flu has also been detected in some species of hawks, owls and eagles in Michigan. There have been no reported cases of people contracting the disease.