Kansas City Zoo moves some birds ‘behind-the-scenes’ in precautionary avian flu measure

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The Kansas City Zoo is temporarily relocating some of its birds — including swans, storks and flamingos — indoors as a precautionary measure against the avian flu.

The zoo said in a news release that it is monitoring avian flu outbreaks as the fall migratory season continues. The contagious respiratory virus can range from being mild to causing death in birds. The risk to humans is small, according to the zoo.

Earlier this week, five birds at the Deanna Rose Children’s Farmstead died suddenly from the disease. The farmstead remained closed Friday so staff could disinfect the Overland Park farm attraction.

The Kansas City Zoo said outdoor habitats pose more of a risk to the zoo’s birds because they could be exposed to wild birds.

Trumpeter swans, African crowned cranes, yellow-billed storks, saddle-bills storks and flamingos may have potentially had direct contact with wild waterfowl, the zoo said, and have been moved to “behind-the-scenes areas.” Staff are taking additional precautions with personal protective equipment, the zoo said.

It’s unclear when the birds will be able to return to their outdoor habitats.