"We are working on several fronts to combat highly pathogenic avian influenza around the world and here at home," said Johanns in a USDA press statement. "Because we cannot control wild birds, our best protection is an early warning system and this move to test thousands more wild birds throughout the country will help us to quickly identify, respond and control the virus, if it arrives in the United States."
Kempthorne noted that a robust monitoring effort helps to ensure early detection should migratory birds carry this virus to North America.
"These coordinated federal and state testing programs will be important this fall as birds now nesting in Alaska and Canada begin their migration south through the continental United States," Kempthorne said in the statement.
As part of the "An Early Detection System for H5N1 Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza in Wild Migratory Birds