“How will it affect fall populations?” “How susceptible are pheasants and quail to the disease?” “Does Pheasants Forever or Quail Forever have a role to play?”
All great questions, but unfortunately, there is little known about the disease regarding its impacts on wild upland bird populations in the United States. The role of Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever is simple: keep delivering our mission of wildlife habitat conservation (remember, we’re a habitat conservation group, not the CDC). If our wild bird populations do become infected, we’re going to need quality habitat – and lots of it – to help populations recover.
Here’s what we can tell you:
The current avian influenza outbreak in the United States has affected over 35 million birds, the vast majority of which have been in commercial poultry operations. Over 240 individual outbreaks have been recorded in 29 states since January 2022, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. The risk for human transmission remains low, as the CDC has only recorded one non-fatal case in Colorado.
The risk to wild birds is variable. As of May 1, there have been 899 confirmed cases in wild birds nationwide. Migrating waterfowl are often the culprits of transmission state-to-state, and their close proximity to one another also makes them much more susceptible. Of the confirmed cases in wild birds, snow geese are far and away the most common, followed by Canada geese.