Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza

In the spring of 2022, a number of wild birds of several species were confirmed to have Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) across southern Ontario.

HPAI was also detected in migratory species in all four flyways (migration corridors) in North America.

HPAI is a highly contagious virus that can infect birds, including:

  • waterfowl
  • shorebirds
  • raptors
  • corvids (crows and ravens)
  • game bird species
  • domestic flocks such as chickens, turkeys and quail

While the risk of human infection with avian influenza viruses is low, you should use caution when handling wild birds. Read the precautions for bird banders, aviculturists and wildlife rehabilitation centres published by the Public Health Agency of Canada.

If you encounter a sick or dead wild bird, report it to the Canadian Wildlife Health Cooperative by phone at 1-866-673-4781 or online.

General tips

  • don't remove an animal from its natural habitat (the animal may not need assistance, and you could do more harm than good)
  • check the animal periodically for 24-48 hours
  • keep your distance

Young animals/babies

If you find an abandoned young animal, separated from adults or left on its own — keep cats and dogs away and limit noise.

An adult may not return if it is noisy or if predators or people are close by.

Get help for a wild animal

In Ontario, wildlife rehabilitators are authorized by the Ministry of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources and Forestry to provide temporary care to sick, injured and abandoned wildlife so it can be returned to the wild. Rehabilitators commit significant time and resources, and many solicit donations to assist with their work.

Every effort is made by wildlife rehabilitators to ensure wildlife in their care do not become tame.

Find a wildlife rehabilitator

To get help for a sick, injured or abandoned animal, you can contact:

Health risks

If you come across sick or diseased wildlife and you suspect there is a public health risk (such as rabies or West Nile virus) contact your regional or local health unit immediately.

Ontario Public Health Units

Public safety

If the animal is alive and there is a public safety issue, contact your local police department.