Back in February 2004, I received email from poultry flu expert Carol Cardona, inc

The reason I speculated that humans moving birds should
not be eliminated as suspects in the spread of this disease is that in my
experience sick and dead ducks don’t fly far. But, people can very easily
move sick birds over many miles. The movements may be legal or illegal but
in an outbreak of disease, they usually happen. I don’t think migratory
birds can be eliminated as major spreaders but you can never underestimate
the ability of humans to move disease.

I’ve since simplified this to argue “Dead Ducks Don’t Fly” – but also added far more, looked at much info.

Yet, many wild pronouncements re migratory birds carrying H5N1 around, and/or set to transport it to all corners of the globe (ever see any of the crassest idiocy from Henry Niman? – Aaarghh!!0

Paper just on CDC site looks at the issue, conclusion much as in Cardona’s email.


The claim that migratory birds are responsible for the long-distance spread of highly pathogenic avian influenza viruses of subtype H5N1 rests on the assumption that infected wild birds can remain asymptomatic and migrate long distances unhampered. We critically assess this claim from the perspective of ecologic immunology, a research field that analyzes immune function in an ecologic, physiologic, and evolutionary context. Long-distance migration is one of the most demanding activities in the animal world. We show that several studies demonstrate that such prolonged, intense exercise leads to immunosuppression and that migratory performance is negatively affected by infections. These findings make it unlikely that wild birds can spread the virus along established long-distance migration pathways. However, infected, symptomatic wild birds may act as vectors over shorter distances, as appears to have occurred in Europe in early 2006.

final sentence:

Migratory birds are already affected by habitat destruction and climate change; alarmist statements blaming migrants for the spread of an emerging disease with pandemic potential and ignoring or underplaying the role of the poultry industry do not do justice to the complexity of the issues involved

Ecologic Immunology of Avian Influenza (H5N1) in Migratory Birds

further comment I sent to aiwatch (group re bird flu and wild birds):

o why then the widespread blame of wild birds, inc by many people who
should know better – of course the FAO’s Domenech (how much have FAO to
hide, hope is not widely seen?); and even some purported
“conservationists”? [money helping latter avoid telling it like it is?]

How many birds killed, scared; how many people unnecessarily scared of
wild birds during this modern-day witchhunt?
How many small holders had livelihoods seriously disrupted, as wild
birds supposedly about to bring in bird flu; while Big Chicken
companies like Bernard Matthews have been merrily transporting
eggs/chicks/poultry back and forth, and misplacing paperwork or

Anyone standing up to express shame over their roles in all this?
Not that I can see, tho some are quieter nowadays.

Anyone seen, yet, the FAO report on S Korea situation: was this shoved
away from limelight once it appeared wild birds weren’t the vectors
there? [curious Nial Moores told to remove his account from website:
was it factually wrong, or just telling the “wrong” story?, not
convenient for fans of Big Chicken.]

How many places are still feeding chicken manure and carcasses to fish?
– anyone done research into whether this isn’t such a good idea after
all? Or, too busy being witch-hunters.