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Bird flu limits Vt. wildlife rehabilitators

Published: Jun. 22, 2022 at 5:16 PM EDT
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - Bird flu is changing what some wildlife rehabilitators can do to help injured birds.

At the Vermont Institute of Natural Science in Quechee, they had to close its rehab facility’s doors earlier this spring when avian influenza was detected in Vermont.

That allowed them to put protocols in place to protect their resident birds. They have since started taking in injured birds again, but there are fewer of them, partly because they can’t take in certain types that are more likely to spread the virus, including waterfowl, raptors, corvids, and shorebirds.

“In terms of our numbers, I would say we’re probably at about half of the amount of patients that we normally would be receiving at this time of year. So, I think we’re at about 200 intakes so far and at this point in the summer we would have been at about 400,” said VINS’ Grae O’Toole.

It’s also baby bird season and because of bird flu protocols, they can’t have their normal rotation of volunteers to help with the feedings. Instead, the staff is helping care for about 70 young songbirds from morning to night.

They say if you find a baby bird and aren’t sure what to do about it, give them a call and they’ll advise you.

Coming up on “First at 4″ on Thursday, we’ll meet two of the newest birds to call VINS home. Cat Viglienzoni introduces us to Decateur and St. Louis, two very cute young owls who are in training to get up close with the public.

And on Friday, we’ll find out how you can get up close to songbirds very soon there.

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VINS celebrates a half-century

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