Avian Flu Guide

Waterfowl Digest - Texas Hunting Regulations for Ducks, Mergansers, Coots, Geese and Cranes

What is avian flu?

Avian influenza is caused by a virus that infects domestic poultry and wild birds (primarily geese, ducks and shorebirds). Each year, there is a bird flu season just as there is for humans.

Is avian flu a threat to me?

Avian flu has not been found in North America, and surveillance is ongoing across the U.S. and Canada. Texas and the entire country will be part of an early detection and surveillance program. Even if the virus is found, it does not signal the beginning of a human pandemic.

Common-sense safety and hygiene practices are essential when bird watching or handling wild bird feeders or equipment.

Is it safe to hunt?

It is perfectly safe to hunt waterfowl. There are no confirmed cases of wild birds transmitting the virus to humans. However, hunters should avoid risk. The USGS National Wildlife Health Center has issued guidance to follow routine precautions when handling wild birds. The Center recommends these steps:

Is it safe to feed and/or observe wild birds?

There is no reason to believe that backyard birds are a threat to public health. The risk of humans contracting avian influenza from feeding wild birds or visiting wetlands is very low. As a general rule, people should observe wildlife, including wild birds, from a distance. This protects both the people and the animal.

Additional Information

For more information on avian influenza, visit the following Web sites: