California Department of Fish and Wildlife

Avian Influenza

Image of the Pacific Flyway

Highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza (HPAI H5N1) is primarily a bird disease that is particular to domestic poultry, but can also infect most other birds both domestic and wild, and to a lesser extent, mammals. It is one of many types of avian influenza viruses. The HPAI H5N1 virus that is causing high mortality in poultry and wild birds in other countries has been identified in Asia, Africa, India, and Europe, but to date has not been found in North America.

One of the most widely held speculations of the movement of the virus to North America is through wild migratory birds, particularly waterfowl and shorebirds in the Pacific Flyway. Department of Fish and Wildlife personnel are currently monitoring this and other diseases that could enter California via migratory birds.

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Reporting Dead Birds

Where to report sick/dead birds or groups of sick/dead birds:

  • Individual sick or injured birds in the wild should be left untouched where they are found and be reported to the local CDFW office and/or wildlife rehabilitation centers. Except for unusual circumstances, callers will be referred to a wildlife rehabilitator.
  • Dead wild birds numbering four or less should be reported to the Dead Bird Hotline at 1-877-968-2473 or by visiting their website.
  • Any domestically reared sick birds or domestically reared birds that have died from disease should be reported to the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) hotline at 1-800-491-1899 or 1-909-947-4462.