Is the Avian Flu Here?

Gwen Grace

There have been some questions from Sun Lake neighbors about a number of dead doves. Is it the avian flu? We have the white-winged dove, the mourning dove, and the prettier Eurasian collared dove a plenty. I now see the smaller Inca doves with rufous-colored primaries or underwings. The deaths of doves may be due to the heat. If one is seeing just parts of a dead dove, well, the owls, hawks, and other critters may be responsible.

The Audubon Southwest reports, “As of April 26, 2022, no cases of avian flu have been reported in Arizona or New Mexico, and there is no need to remove your feeders at this time.”

The outbreak of avian flu has spread across North America since last fall, with domestic fowl and some wild flocks affected. Deaths are usually to domestic birds. It is not a public health threat. The Arizona Game and Fish Department is monitoring bird deaths, and if you are concerned, contact them.

With Arizona’s warm (should I say hot) summers, it’s wise to clean out the birdfeeders, keep the water sources clean, and change the hummingbird feeder often so the water is clear.

The Desert Rivers Audubon Speaker Series presents “Cliff Fielding, Arizona Cacti” on Zoom, on Aug. 9 at 7 p.m. Hear why iconic saguaros are dying and learn about a little-known, rare plant that grows on South Mountain. Sign up on the website, Desertriversaudubon.org. An email will be sent for the link on Zoom, and you can remain in your cool house!

Join Tucson Audubon’s Southeast Arizona Birding Festival Aug. 10-14, during the beautiful monsoon season, with professionally led field trips, education programs, keynote speakers, photography workshops, and an extensive Nature Expo. Register at Tucsonaudubon.org.

Happy Birding!