This comes from a news release, not a refereed (peer reviewed) article. The points made have been made elsewhere–

  • highly pathogenic avian flu (as opposed to the run of the mill bird flu) seems to spread through trade (of infected birds)
  • poultry have been more susceptible than wild birds
  • However, the Cornell Lab of Ornithology ( is a key research source on birds. They have tracked the movements and population flucuations of birds for decades. I think their opinions should be carefully evaluated.

    April 26, 2006
    Migratory birds are unlikely to infect humans or poultry in U.S. with deadly avian flu, say Cornell bird experts….

    While infection by the H5N1 strain of flu is rare in humans, it quickly kills half of those infected. In poultry, the highly pathogenic virus can be extremely deadly, killing more than 90 percent of infected birds within 48 hours. But many wild birds, especially certain waterfowl, can carry the deadly virus in their intestines with few symptoms.

    “If avian flu were to show up in U.S. poultry, migratory birds are probably the least likely source of infection,” said Ken Rosenberg, director of conservation science at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology….

    “It’s a whole lot easier to see someone smuggling an infected gamecock or parrot into the U.S. through Mexico or Canada,” added Kevin McGowan, a research associate at the lab, noting that all birds that are sold are regularly exposed to other birds from all over the world in both illegal and legal bird markets….

    While the researchers are less concerned about avian flu impacting humans or domestic poultry, they point out that the virulence of the highly pathogenic H5N1 creates a real danger to threatened or endangered bird species. Whooping cranes and such species related to poultry as prairie chickens, grouse and quail are all in trouble and could be some of the most susceptible species to the highly pathogenic avian flu.