SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WTVO) — Illinois state biologists are warning residents against using bird feeders and birdbaths this year, as a wave of bird flu makes its way across the country.

The virus spreads where birds congregate. Twenty-seven million chickens and turkeys in 26 states have been slaughtered to slow the spread of the Avian Flu, and more than 600 wild birds have been diagnosed.

“The birds don’t need us to feed them,” said Rob Kanter, a clinical associate professor at University of Illinois. “It’s convenient for them and they’d like it if we had stuff out for them, but the primary purpose of feeding birds is to bring them together so we can see them. It’s for us, not them.”

Experts say that once the weather warms and birds can find their own food sources, bird feeders aren’t necessary.