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Junior Museum and Zoo removes birds from view amid avian flu outbreak

Virus poses low risk to humans but can be dangerous for resident birds

Rey Martinez Han feeds a flamingo at the Junior Museum and Zoo in Palo Alto on Oct. 28, 2021. Photo by Magali Gauthier.

Concerned about a bird flu outbreak, the Palo Alto Junior Museum and Zoo has removed its birds from public viewing and canceled all bird interactions, including the popular flamingo feeding activity, until further notice.

Avian influenza in wild birds and poultry is common in the U.S. but typically poses low risk to humans, according to the zoo’s website. The outbreaks do pose a threat to local birds, however, and the zoo, located at 1451 Middlefield Road, is taking precautions to protect its feathered inhabitants.

The current outbreak of avian influenza is highly pathogenic, according to a press release from Santa Clara Valley Audubon Society. Four cases were detected in Canada geese and red-tailed hawks in Santa Clara County in August and early September.

Avian influenza typically is restricted to aquatic birds.

"This is primarily because of the watery habitat they enjoy, which assists in the spread of the virus," Matthew Dodder, executive director of Santa Clara Valley Audubon Society, said in an emailed statement. "It is well known that wildfowl, particularly ducks and geese, will make use of small urban ponds and pools."

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Since its recent renovation, the zoo has provided a place for birds and other animals to roam freely with visitors under a netted roof in an outdoor space called Loose in the Zoo. Until the removal of the birds, visitors could watch spoonbills hunting with their bills in the water, interact with the resident peacock, talk to Manusela the salmon-crested cockatoo or hand-feed the flamingos.

To replace its bird activities, the zoo is offering interactive Zookeeper Talks throughout the day.

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Junior Museum and Zoo removes birds from view amid avian flu outbreak

Virus poses low risk to humans but can be dangerous for resident birds

by / Palo Alto Weekly

Uploaded: Mon, Sep 26, 2022, 7:14 pm

Concerned about a bird flu outbreak, the Palo Alto Junior Museum and Zoo has removed its birds from public viewing and canceled all bird interactions, including the popular flamingo feeding activity, until further notice.

Avian influenza in wild birds and poultry is common in the U.S. but typically poses low risk to humans, according to the zoo’s website. The outbreaks do pose a threat to local birds, however, and the zoo, located at 1451 Middlefield Road, is taking precautions to protect its feathered inhabitants.

The current outbreak of avian influenza is highly pathogenic, according to a press release from Santa Clara Valley Audubon Society. Four cases were detected in Canada geese and red-tailed hawks in Santa Clara County in August and early September.

Avian influenza typically is restricted to aquatic birds.

"This is primarily because of the watery habitat they enjoy, which assists in the spread of the virus," Matthew Dodder, executive director of Santa Clara Valley Audubon Society, said in an emailed statement. "It is well known that wildfowl, particularly ducks and geese, will make use of small urban ponds and pools."

Since its recent renovation, the zoo has provided a place for birds and other animals to roam freely with visitors under a netted roof in an outdoor space called Loose in the Zoo. Until the removal of the birds, visitors could watch spoonbills hunting with their bills in the water, interact with the resident peacock, talk to Manusela the salmon-crested cockatoo or hand-feed the flamingos.

To replace its bird activities, the zoo is offering interactive Zookeeper Talks throughout the day.

Comments

JB
Registered user
Evergreen Park
on Sep 27, 2022 at 10:35 am
JB, Evergreen Park
Registered user
on Sep 27, 2022 at 10:35 am

I’m so glad that they are being proactive in protecting these birds from avian flu. Good job!


eileen
Registered user
College Terrace
on Sep 27, 2022 at 10:50 am
eileen , College Terrace
Registered user
on Sep 27, 2022 at 10:50 am

So is there a timeline for when the birds will return? Maybe the zoo can reduce the entrance fee since such a fun activity is missing? Interactive zookeeper talks are hard for young children to follow. So, how long will the birds be gone?


Online Name
Registered user
Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Sep 27, 2022 at 11:05 am
Online Name, Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
Registered user
on Sep 27, 2022 at 11:05 am

@Eileen, excellent point about reducing the entrance fees now. They were absurdly unrealistic to begin with and even more so now when most of the kids still just want to use the toilet without paying $18 per use.

But that's what we get for hiring outside consultants with no local knowledge.


Lenora Winters
Registered user
Old Palo Alto
on Sep 27, 2022 at 11:19 am
Lenora Winters, Old Palo Alto
Registered user
on Sep 27, 2022 at 11:19 am

How do birds that are in captivity and isolated from the outside world contract avian flu?

Did they contract the avian flu from visitors?


Consider Your Options.
Registered user
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 27, 2022 at 2:05 pm
Consider Your Options. , Another Palo Alto neighborhood
Registered user
on Sep 27, 2022 at 2:05 pm

I love birds and sadly stopped filling my bird feeders on recommendation of the Audubon Society. Evidently, feeders are a place where they gather and can pick up the avian flu. Instead, I am using my garden to create an even more bird- and bee-friendly environment to attract these beautiful creatures. I'm enjoying the gardening and my winged companions.


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