Experts want you to stop feeding birds out of backyard bird feeders and stop right now. When I heard about this I assumed the warning was going to have everything to do with our state’s black bear population encroaching into populated areas. Bird feeders definitely attract them just like garbage cans do.

That’s not it at all. The request has nothing to do with bears and everything to do with the birds themselves.

Wildlife researchers say there’s an outbreak of bird flu. Your bird feeder is helping spread it. So if you really care about these beautiful creatures (and if you want to feed them we assume you do) you’ll take away your bird feeders pronto.

Woodpecker and sparrows on the bird feeder
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You see, bird feeders draw birds into one common area and, to put it in layman's terms, draws a crowd. Birds congregating like this spread bird flu. How bad is it? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says 28.5 million cases of bird flu have been tallied among backyard and commercial poultry as of Tuesday.

Basically, consider your bird feeder as creating a superspreader event to put it into virus terms we can understand. Keep birds from congregating and you keep bird flu from spreading. That’s the idea in telling people to ditch the bird feeders.

“Not only will this action help to protect those beautiful feathered creatures that visit your yard, but will also help all wild bird species that are already having it hard this spring because of HPAI,” explains Dr. Victoria Hall with the University of Minnesota’s Raptor Center.

The worry here isn’t for people. While bird flu has in rare cases jumped species and infected and even killed human beings, it’s highly unlikely. 

The real issue is harm to birds themselves. Bird flu has recently been reported in 31 states including New Jersey.

So if you really want to do your part, stop filling the bird feeder and attracting birds. I know you like seeing them but it’s selfish if it can be harming them.

Oh, and don’t even get me started on feeding seagulls at the shore.

Opinions expressed in the post above are those of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Jeff Deminski only.

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