Image 01 Image 03

Bird Flu Outbreak Rages for Second Year as Virus Detected in Southern California

Bird Flu Outbreak Rages for Second Year as Virus Detected in Southern California

The virus has been detected in Southern California’s wild bird population for the first time.

We have just passed a grim anniversary. The US and the rest of the world are entering the second year of dealing with a very infectious and virulent avian flu (aka bird flu).

The current clade of H5N1 virus, called clade, appears well-adapted to spread efficiently among wild birds and poultry in many regions of the world and was first identified in wild birds in the United States in January 2022. Since then, this current clade HPAI A(H5N1) virus has been detected in wild birds in all 50 states and has caused bird outbreaks in 47 states affecting more than 58 million commercial poultry and backyard flocks.

The epidemic has already cost the nation hundreds of millions while contributing to shortages in eggs and poultry products and adding to the impact of inflation on consumers.

The ongoing bird flu outbreak has cost the government roughly $661 million and added to consumers’ pain at the grocery store after more than 58 million birds were slaughtered to limit the spread of the virus.

In addition to the cost of the government response that the USDA tallied up and rising prices for eggs, chicken and turkey, farmers who raise those animals have easily lost more than $1 billion, said an agricultural economist, though no one has calculated the total cost to the industry yet.

The bad news is that with the outbreak entering its second year and the spring migratory season looming, there is no end in sight. And there is little farmers can do beyond the steps they have already taken to try to keep the virus out.

Unlike past years, the virus that causes highly pathogenic avian influenza found a way to survive through the heat of last summer, leading to a rise in cases reported in the fall.

The virus has been detected in Southern California’s wild bird population for the first time.

The county’s public health department announced Friday the illness has been detected among wild birds in the southern California area for the first time.

“There have been reports of isolated cases of highly pathogenic avian influenza or more commonly known as ‘bird flu,’ in wild birds in Santa Barbara County,” the health officials said.

The disease has not yet been detected in local poultry farms but county officials advised people who raise poultry and keep birds to take the proper precautions, such as closing their enclosures off from wild birds, draining local bodies of water, washing their hands thoroughly after handling birds and using sanitized water for their birds.

One of the most troubling aspects of the California reports is that the virus has now infected a mammal…specifically, a bobcat that likely ate an infected bird.

An adult bobcat died from the bird flu, making it the first wild mammal in California to test positive for the virus, wildlife officials said. The animal’s remains were tracked to Butte County in Northern California through its GPS collar when it stopped moving, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife said in a Wednesday, Feb. 15, news release.

…Wildlife officials said there is a low risk of the virus spreading from animals to humans but warned the public to take precautions when handling wildlife if it can’t be avoided completely. Precautions include wearing gloves and face masks and washing hands.


Donations tax deductible
to the full extent allowed by law.


With all of bio-research being done on viruses I confess I
am highly suspicious of this bird flu. It is different from past outbreaks – more persistent and virulent. Funny how it’s world-wide.

Not safe to free-range your flock anymore!

    paracelsus in reply to B Buchanan. | February 20, 2023 at 7:14 pm

    very happy to see I’m not the only paranoid around

    CommoChief in reply to B Buchanan. | February 20, 2023 at 8:01 pm

    Which would suit corporate behemoths just fine. Several decades ago I recall private orange trees/small private groves being ordered destroyed due to ‘danger’ of infestation. The infestation threatened the large corporate commercial orange groves.

    Expect something similar for backyard hobby flocks or small producers. It’s on the same trend line that results in less individual liberty and freedom from reliance on big agricultural companies. Same as the desire to replace ICE with EV via mandate not consumer choice.

    gonzotx in reply to B Buchanan. | February 20, 2023 at 8:02 pm

    My understanding is that people flocks of backyard chickens really have not
    Been poisoned ….
    One has to assume there is a man made component to this “virus”

And still we have idiot scientists playing with the H5N1 virus making it more dangerous by enabling it to more easily infect mammals.

If H5N1 ever made the jump to people and started spreading it would make Covid look like nothing.

Newsom orders chickens to mask up.

Your previous report already indicated that it infected mammals in Spain.

Heck, the clade has already infected humans, albeit at a low transmission rate. It is a very nasty virus that can take out your lungs for good, although most people don’t get it and some fortunates don’t get a viral load high enough to cause severe disease.

Magpies have been annihilated by west nile infections here in the central north valley. I used to see large troops? flocks? of them headed to the river at sunset. All gone.