Based on laboratory and epidemiologic studies disease investigators have concluded that wild birds introduced Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI, or “Bird Flu”) into one or more Midwestern dairy herds. The same viral strain isolated from clinical cows has also been circulating in wild birds through the US including California. While currently the disease has not been identified in the state’s dairy herds, producers are understandably concerned that a similar disease introduction could happen here. This raises obvious questions about what wild bird control methods are effective and legal in California.

Control of wild birds on dairies is a complex issue, involving not only management practices and control technologies but also state and federal regulations regarding protected species.

Editor’s Note: A recent analysis of NIH data suggests that the HPAI outbreak may have started with a single viral transfer from a bird to a cow, with subsequent cases resulting from cow-to-cow or equipment-to-cow spread. If accurate, the analysis would support a recommendation that producers prioritize other aspects of farm biosecurity first, before expending time and money on wild bird control.

On April 18, 2024 CDQAP partnered with the California Department of Food and Agriculture and USDA’s Wildlife Services and National Wildlife Disease Program to bring clear, actionable information to dairy producers.

Webinar Introduction: Wild Bird Deterrence on California Dairies

Dr. Michael Payne with the University of California’s School of Veterinary Medicine provides a brief background on the current HPAI outbreak in dairy cattle, the number of states and herds involved, potential sources of cow-to-cow transmission and bird-to-cow transmission.

Address by Dr. Annette Jones, CA State Veterinarian

Current status of disease in California.

PRESENTATION: Wild Bird Flyways, Migration, Disease

Krisa E. Dilione is a wildlife biologist working for the USDA’s National Wildlife Disease Program. The presentation covers the timing of migration along the North American Flyways and results of HPAI surveillance testing performed by USDA.

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PRESENTATION: Wild Bird Deterrence on Dairies

Brian Popper, wildlife biologist and District Supervisor – USDA APHIS/Wildlife Services , covers aspects of control: nuisance species, their behavior, non-lethal passive and active harassment techniques, lethal methods, and legal aspects of permitting for control issues related to protected species.

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PRESENTATION: Experience, Exclusion, Control

John Bedell has 30 years of experience in the California poultry industry as both a producer and VP of Agriculture Operations with J.S. West Milling Company. While dairy and poultry facilities are different, he shares hard-learned lessons about principals of biosecurity which cross commodity lines.

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Update articles:

Update on HPAI 5-8-2024

What to Expect in CA

Keeping Herds Safe from Bird Flu (4/19/2024)