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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — The Illinois Department of Natural Resources is recommending residents stop using bird feeders and baths until the end of May due to an influenza strain that is impacting wild and domestic birds.

The strain is called the EA H5N1 — which is a highly pathogenic avian influenza. Throughout the Midwest, infections from the strain are up, especially in waterfowl.

During spring, wild birds will have ample food sources while bird feeders are removed, the IDNR said.

The agency is recommending the following.

  • Clean and rinse bird feeders and baths with a diluted bleach solution (nine parts water to one part bleach) and put away or clean weekly if they can’t be moved away from birds.
  • Remove any bird seed at the base of bird feeders to discourage large gatherings of birds or other wildlife.
  • Avoid feeding wild birds in close proximity to domestic flocks.

If five or more deceased wild birds are observed in one location, an IDNR district wildlife biologist should be contacted. So far, the strain has not been detected in any songbird species.