Can Birds Make You Sick

Last Updated on April 14, 2023 by

Have you ever heard that birds can make you sick? This might seem like an odd statement, but the truth is that there are several ways in which birds and their droppings can pose a risk to human health. In this article, we’ll explore some of the most common illnesses associated with bird exposure, as well as offer tips on how to protect yourself and your family.

Firstly, it’s important to note that not all birds carry diseases that are harmful to humans. However, certain species – such as pigeons or seagulls – have been known to transmit bacteria like E.coli and Salmonella through their feces. Additionally, some birds (like parrots) may be carriers of psittacosis – a respiratory infection caused by Chlamydia psittaci bacteria. Whether you work around birds professionally or simply encounter them frequently in outdoor settings, understanding the potential risks is key to staying healthy.

Understanding Bird-Borne Diseases

Birds are fascinating creatures that have captured the attention of humans for centuries. However, they can also transmit diseases that can make you sick. This is because birds carry a variety of bacteria, viruses, and parasites that can be harmful to human health.

One example of a bird-borne disease is avian influenza or bird flu. This virus primarily affects birds but can also infect humans who come into close contact with infected birds or their droppings. Symptoms of bird flu in humans include fever, coughing, sore throat, muscle aches, and respiratory distress.

Another common bird-borne illness is psittacosis or parrot fever. This bacterial infection is caused by Chlamydia psittaci and typically affects people who own pet birds such as parrots, macaws, and cockatiels. Symptoms of psittacosis include fever, chills, headache, muscle aches, dry coughing, and pneumonia if left untreated.

Common Bacterial Infections Transmitted By Birds

Did you know that birds can transmit bacterial infections to humans? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are several common bacterial infections that people can contract from birds, including salmonella, campylobacteriosis, and avian influenza. These infections can cause a range of symptoms, from mild stomach upset to severe illness.

One common way that people become infected with these bacteria is through contact with bird droppings or contaminated surfaces. For example, if a person touches bird feces on a park bench or in their backyard and then touches their mouth or nose, they could potentially become sick. Additionally, people who work with birds professionally – such as poultry farmers or pet store employees – may be at increased risk of exposure to these pathogens.

If you do come into contact with bird feces or suspect that you have been exposed to an infected bird, it’s important to take precautions to protect your health. This includes washing your hands thoroughly with soap and water after handling birds or cleaning up their waste products. It’s also a good idea to avoid touching your face while working around birds and to wear gloves when handling them.

Transitioning into our next section about salmonella and bird feces, it’s worth noting that this particular bacterium has been linked to outbreaks associated with live poultry in recent years. In the following section, we’ll explore how salmonella spreads through bird feces and what steps you can take to reduce your risk of infection.

Salmonella And Bird Feces

Birds can indeed make you sick, especially if they carry harmful bacteria like Salmonella in their feces. Salmonella is a type of bacteria that can cause food poisoning when ingested. It’s commonly found in the intestines of birds and other animals.

When bird droppings contaminate surfaces or food, it’s easy for humans to contract Salmonella by touching contaminated objects or consuming contaminated food. Symptoms of salmonellosis include diarrhea, fever, abdominal cramps, and vomiting. In severe cases, hospitalization may be necessary.

To avoid getting sick from bird feces, it’s important to practice good hygiene habits such as washing your hands regularly with soap and water after handling birds or coming into contact with their droppings. Additionally, it’s best to clean up any bird droppings immediately using gloves and disinfectant cleaners.

Now let’s move on to another harmful bacteria that can be found in bird droppings – E.coli.

E.Coli And Bird Droppings

E.coli is a bacteria commonly found in bird droppings, and can be transmitted through air, water, and food sources. Contamination can lead to health risks, making it an important topic in public health, sanitation, and hygiene. Cleaning and prevention are key to safety and reducing environmental impact, so it’s important to be aware of ways to minimize risk. Proper safety precautions and following proper sanitation and hygiene protocols can help protect us from E.coli and bird droppings.


It’s a beautiful day outside and you’re enjoying a picnic with your loved ones. Suddenly, a bird flies over and leaves its droppings on your food. You quickly clean it up, but did you know that those droppings could potentially contain E.coli? E.coli is a type of bacteria commonly found in animal feces, including birds.

E.coli can cause serious health problems such as diarrhea, vomiting, and even kidney failure. In some cases, it can be fatal. This is why it’s important to take precautions when dealing with bird droppings, especially if they’ve come into contact with food or water sources.

To minimize the risk of contracting E.coli from bird droppings, make sure to properly dispose of any contaminated materials and wash your hands thoroughly afterwards. It’s also advisable to wear gloves and protective gear when cleaning up large amounts of droppings or dealing with infected birds. By taking these simple steps, you can help protect yourself and others from the harmful effects of E.coli.

Bird Droppings

So we’ve talked about the potential health risks associated with E.coli in bird droppings. But did you know that bird droppings can also pose other hazards? For example, if left untreated, large amounts of bird droppings can create a slippery surface that could lead to slips and falls. In addition, some species of birds are carriers of diseases such as histoplasmosis and cryptococcosis, which can be transmitted through their droppings.

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To minimize these risks, it’s important to properly clean up any bird droppings you come across. This includes using gloves and protective gear when dealing with large quantities of droppings or infected birds. It’s also recommended to use disinfectants and water to wash away any remaining bacteria or fungi after cleaning up.

Another way to prevent excessive buildup of bird droppings is by discouraging nesting on your property. You can do this by installing deterrents such as spikes or netting on ledges where birds like to perch. Additionally, keeping trash cans tightly sealed will help discourage scavenging birds from congregating around your home.

By taking these preventative measures and being aware of the potential dangers associated with bird droppings, you can keep yourself and those around you safe from harm.

Psittacosis: A Respiratory Infection From Birds

As we learned in the previous section, bird droppings can contain E.coli bacteria which is harmful to human health. However, there are other infections that can be transmitted from birds to humans through contact with their feces or respiratory secretions. One such infection is Psittacosis.

Psittacosis is a respiratory illness caused by the bacterium Chlamydia psittaci and it primarily affects parrots, pigeons, and doves. Humans can contract this infection when they inhale dust particles contaminated with dried feces or respiratory secretions of infected birds. Symptoms include fever, headache, muscle aches, coughing, shortness of breath, and pneumonia.

If left untreated, Psittacosis can lead to severe respiratory distress and even death in some cases. It’s important for individuals who work closely with birds or live near areas where wild birds congregate to take necessary precautions to avoid exposure to bird droppings and respiratory secretions. In the next section, we will discuss common symptoms of bird-borne illnesses in humans and what steps you should take if you suspect an infection.

Symptoms Of Bird-Borne Illnesses In Humans

Bird-borne illnesses can cause a range of symptoms in humans. These symptoms depend on the type of illness and how severe it is. Some common signs include fever, coughing, difficulty breathing, body aches, fatigue, and headaches.

Influenza A (H5N1), also known as bird flu or avian influenza, is one example of a serious bird-borne illness that can affect humans. This virus spreads from infected birds to people through contact with contaminated surfaces or materials such as feces or feathers. Symptoms may appear within 2-10 days after exposure and can be life-threatening if not treated promptly.

If you are experiencing any symptoms after being exposed to birds or their droppings, seek medical attention immediately. It’s always better to err on the side of caution when it comes to your health.

Three Emotional Items

Here are three things to keep in mind:

  1. Bird-borne illnesses can have serious consequences.
  2. Early detection and treatment is crucial for successful recovery.
  3. Taking steps to protect yourself from bird exposure can prevent illness altogether.

Protecting yourself from bird exposure starts with taking necessary precautions when handling birds or cleaning up after them. Understanding the risks associated with these activities is important so that you can take appropriate safety measures.

One way to reduce your risk of contracting a bird-borne illness is by wearing protective equipment such as gloves, masks, and goggles while working around birds or their droppings. Additionally, washing your hands frequently with soap and water can help reduce the spread of germs.

By following these guidelines and staying vigilant about potential exposures to birds and their waste products, you can minimize your risk of developing an infection and protect your overall health.

Protecting Yourself From Bird Exposure

Did you know that over 400 different diseases can be transmitted to humans from birds? This includes viruses, bacteria, fungi and parasites. One of the most well-known bird-borne illnesses is avian influenza or "bird flu". However, there are many other infections such as salmonella and campylobacter which can cause food poisoning.

It’s important to take measures to protect yourself when around birds in order to avoid contracting any potential illnesses. Firstly, it’s recommended to wear protective clothing such as gloves, masks and eyewear especially if handling wild birds or cleaning up their droppings. Secondly, try to limit your exposure by avoiding places where large numbers of birds congregate like aviaries or poultry farms.

Proper hygiene practices when around birds include washing hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds before and after contact with birds or their environments. Additionally, disinfecting surfaces that may have come into contact with bird droppings is also crucial in preventing the spread of disease. By following these simple steps, you can keep yourself safe while enjoying the beauty of our feathered friends.

Proper Hygiene Practices When Around Birds

As mentioned in the previous section, protecting yourself from bird exposure is crucial to avoid getting sick. However, it’s not always possible to completely stay away from birds, especially if you work with them or have them as pets.

That’s why proper hygiene practices when around birds are essential. Firstly, make sure to wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water after handling any birds or their droppings. Avoid touching your face, mouth, or eyes before doing so. Additionally, wear gloves and a mask while cleaning bird cages or handling sick birds to prevent the spread of germs.

Furthermore, keep your living space clean if you have pet birds at home. Regularly change their water and food bowls and clean their cages frequently. If you notice any signs of illness in your pet bird, such as lethargy or difficulty breathing, take them to a veterinarian immediately.

By following these simple hygiene practices when interacting with birds, you can significantly reduce the risk of getting sick. However, sometimes professional bird control measures may be necessary to fully protect yourself from potential health hazards associated with birds.

Professional Bird Control Measures

When it comes to professional bird control measures, there are a variety of options available to keep birds from making themselves at home on your property. One popular choice is installing netting or spikes in areas where birds tend to roost and nest. This can be particularly effective for larger buildings like warehouses or factories.

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Another option is using avian deterrents that emit sound or light signals that make the area unpleasant for birds to inhabit. These types of devices often use high-pitched noises or flashing lights that disrupt the birds’ natural communication patterns and discourage them from returning.

If you’re dealing with a particularly persistent bird problem, hiring a professional pest control company may be necessary. These experts can assess your situation and recommend customized solutions based on your specific needs and budget. With their help, you can ensure that your property remains free of unwanted feathered guests while minimizing any potential health risks associated with exposure to bird droppings or other contaminants.

Transition: While these measures can certainly help reduce the risk of illness caused by birds, it’s important to also take steps on an individual level to stay safe around our feathered friends.

Conclusion: Staying Safe Around Birds

Now that we have discussed the various professional bird control measures, it’s important to address the question on everyone’s mind: can birds make you sick? The answer is yes. Birds are known carriers of several diseases that can be transmitted to humans through their droppings, feathers, and respiratory secretions.

One such disease is avian influenza or bird flu. This virus can cause severe respiratory illness in humans and has a high mortality rate. Another disease spread by birds is histoplasmosis, which is caused by inhaling fungal spores found in bird droppings. Symptoms include fever, coughing, and chest pain.

To stay safe around birds and prevent the spread of disease, here are some practical tips:

  • Avoid feeding wild birds
  • Wear protective gear like gloves and masks when cleaning up bird droppings
  • Keep your home clean and free from bird nests
  • Wash your hands thoroughly after handling birds or their droppings
  • Seek medical attention if you experience any symptoms of a bird-borne illness

In conclusion, while birds may be beautiful creatures to observe in nature, they do pose health risks to humans. By following these safety precautions, you can still enjoy the presence of birds without putting yourself at risk for illness. Remember to always take necessary steps to protect yourself and those around you when dealing with our feathered friends.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Types Of Birds Are More Likely To Carry Diseases That Can Be Transmitted To Humans?

When it comes to bird-borne diseases that can be transmitted to humans, some species are more likely culprits than others. Certain birds such as pigeons and seagulls are commonly found in urban areas and have been known carriers of harmful bacteria like Salmonella and E.coli. Additionally, parrots and other exotic pet birds have the potential to spread deadly viruses such as Psittacosis. It’s important to take precautions when interacting with any type of bird, especially those that may carry disease-causing pathogens. By avoiding direct contact and practicing good hygiene habits, you can help protect yourself from illness.

Can You Get Sick From Handling Or Touching Bird Feathers?

Yes, you can get sick from handling or touching bird feathers. There is a risk of contracting diseases such as salmonellosis and avian influenza from contact with contaminated feathers, droppings, or secretions. It is important to take precautions when working with birds or their feathers, including wearing gloves and washing your hands thoroughly afterwards. Additionally, it’s best to avoid touching wild birds altogether as they may carry more dangerous pathogens.

Is It Safe To Keep Birds As Pets In Your Home?

Keeping birds as pets in your home can be safe and enjoyable. However, it is important to remember that like any other animal, they require proper care and attention to maintain their health and wellbeing. Regular cleaning of cages or aviaries, providing them with a healthy diet, and ensuring they have enough space for exercise are all crucial aspects of keeping birds as pets. Additionally, it is important to research the type of bird you are considering bringing into your home to ensure you understand its specific needs and potential health risks. As long as you take these precautions, having a bird as a pet can be a wonderful addition to your household.

Can Bird Droppings Cause Damage To Buildings Or Other Structures?

Yes, bird droppings can cause damage to buildings and other structures. The acidic composition of their feces can corrode surfaces such as wood or metal, causing decay and weakening the structural integrity. In addition to physical damage, bird droppings can also be unsightly and emit an unpleasant odor. Regular cleaning and maintenance are necessary to prevent long-term damage from bird droppings.

How Can You Tell If A Bird Is Carrying A Disease Or Infection?

When it comes to our feathered friends, appearances can be deceiving. While a bird’s vibrant plumage may catch your eye, it’s what lies beneath the surface that could spell trouble. Specifically, birds can carry diseases or infections that are harmful to humans. So how do you know if a bird is carrying something sinister? Look for signs like lethargy, disorientation and abnormal behaviour as these could indicate an illness. Additionally, keep an eye on any discharge from the bird’s eyes, nose or mouth – this too could point to a health issue. Remember: even though birds may look healthy, it doesn’t necessarily mean they are disease-free.


In conclusion, birds can make you sick if certain precautions are not taken. While all birds have the potential to carry diseases that can be transmitted to humans, some species are more likely to transmit illnesses than others. Birds such as pigeons and seagulls are known carriers of diseases like salmonellosis and histoplasmosis.

However, this does not mean we should avoid these beautiful creatures altogether. As long as proper hygiene practices are followed, it is safe to keep birds as pets in your home or enjoy them in their natural habitats. Just remember to wash your hands thoroughly after handling feathers or coming into contact with bird droppings. So go ahead, spread your wings and soar amongst our feathered friends!

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