Avian Influenza Safety Precautions

Tracy Aviary is taking preventative measures to protect its resident birds from contracting Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) following the announcement on Monday April 18th by the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food that HPAI has reached Utah.

The health and safety of our birds, staff, and guests is our number one priority. Since the virus poses a very low risk to humans, visiting Tracy Aviary is still very safe. However, this strain of HPAI is especially concerning for poultry, pheasant, and waterfowl species and can be highly infectious and fatal to birds. Guests to Tracy Aviary will still be able to enjoy the majority of the site's unique experiences with a few changes to ensure birds' safety. The protective measures are designed to limit encounters Tracy Aviary's birds may have with wild birds carrying the virus.

Avian influenza is typically most contagious in densely populated spaces such as poultry farms. The virus's presence in wild birds is of particular concern during spring and fall migration seasons, March through May, and August through October, when birds are traveling from areas with high infection rates. As a result, Tracy Aviary has taken steps to deter wild waterfowl from visiting the Aviary as well. 

Below are several preventative measures that will help keep our resident birds healthy, and may affect your visit to Tracy Aviary

  • The Aviary has temporarily closed three out of its 17 themed exhibits, which house birds most at risk for contracting the virus. The closed exhibits include the Kennecott Wetlands, Backyard Birds, and Treasures of the Rainforest.
  • Netting has been installed over other exhibits to prevent wild birds from congregating with sensitive species.
  • Avian Experiences and Lorikeet Adventure have been temporarily suspended.
  • Some Roaming Encounters experiences are also temporarily suspended. 
  • We ask that guests who have been near poultry farms or backyard chicken flocks to refrain from going into the Aviary's indoor exhibits and plan to visit the many outdoor spaces at the Aviary instead.
  • Public duck feeders have been removed from grounds and we ask that guests do not feed any birds on-site
  • As the virus is transferred by fecal matter, shoe disinfection may be required to enter specific indoor exhibits to limit birds' exposure to outside materials. Additionally, we recommend that those planning to explore any indoor exhibits during their visit wear closed-toe shoes.

Many zoos across the United States have taken similar measures to ensure the safety of their birds and prevent the potential spread of the virus. We have been proactively planning our response to this virus for many years. Our bird care team is appropriately trained for these situations, and we are in close contact with the USDA and following all CDC guidelines for avian flu.

At this time, it is uncertain how long these precautions will need to be in place. Our staff is monitoring the situation in North America, and we will return operations to normal when we can determine that the virus is no longer a threat to our birds

While the Center for Disease Control and Prevention has stated that this current strain of HPAI poses a low risk to humans, the CDC recommends that the public not touch wild birds. If they come into contact with a wild bird, they should wash their hands and clothes immediately afterward. People with bird feeders at their homes currently do not need to remove them. Those with pet birds or our poultry are encouraged to review the USDA's Defend the Flock information for best practices to reduce the risk of avian influenza and other infectious diseases.