Enhanced surveillance of influenza requires rapid, robust, and inexpensive analytical techniques capable of providing a detailed analysis of influenza virus strains. Functionalized poly-crystalline silicon nanowire field-effect transistor (poly-SiNW FET) was demonstrated to achieve specific and ultrasensitive (at fM level) detection of high pathogenic strain virus (H5 and H7) DNA of avian influenza (AI) which is an important infectious disease and has an immediate need for surveillance. The poly-SiNW FET was prepared by a simple and low-cost method that is compatible with current commercial semiconductor process without expensive E-beam lithography tools for large-scale production. Specific electric changes were observed for AI virus DNA sensing when nanowire surface of poly-SiNW FET was modified with complementary captured DNA probe and target DNA (H5) at fM to pM range could be distinguished. With its excellent electric properties and potential for mass commercial production, poly-SiNW FET can be developed to become a portable biosensor for field use and point-of-care diagnoses.