Blue Hills Trailside Museum Moves Birds Inside Due to Avian Influenza Concern
Michael P. O'Connor
MILTON, MA—Mass Audubon’s Blue Hills Trailside Museum is proactively moving all exhibit birds into indoor aviaries due to concerns about avian influenza, which is highly contagious and could be fatal to some of the birds.
On Wednesday, the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR) confirmed the presence of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) in the state. Avian influenza can be spread in various ways from flock to flock, including by wild birds, through contact with infected poultry, by equipment, and caretakers’ clothing.
While the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have determined the recent detections of HPAI do not present an immediate public health concern, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and MDAR urged those involved in the care for or production of poultry to review and increase their safety measures to prevent the spread of illness among birds.
Mass Audubon Metro South Regional Director Lauren Gordon said, “Moving the birds is an important preventative measure to keep them safe. By bringing the birds inside, we can more closely monitor them and prevent wild birds, which often frequent the Blue Hills State Reservation, from having contact with our collection and potentially exposing them to the virus.”
In the past few weeks, the USDA has also identified bid flu cases in wild birds found in Maine and Connecticut.
Gordon says she understands many visitors will be disappointed they will be unable to see the Snowy Owl, Bald Eagle, and other birds during their visit, but noted the health and safety of the wildlife sanctuary’s animals were the top priorities. Gordon hopes visitors continue to support and visit Trailside by enjoying its other outdoor and indoor exhibits that will remain open.
Mass Audubon is the largest nature-based conservation organization in New England. Founded in 1896 by two women who fought for the protection of birds, Mass Audubon carries on their legacy by focusing on the greatest challenges facing the environment today: the loss of biodiversity, inequitable access to nature, and climate change. With the help of our 140,000 members and supporters, we protect wildlife, conserve and restore resilient land, advocate for impactful environmental policies, offer nationally recognized education programs for adults and children, and provide endless opportunities to experience the outdoors at our wildlife sanctuaries. Explore, find inspiration, and take action at www.massaudubon.org.