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US - Wildlife officials investigating mysterious bird illness in several states - June 11+

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  • #16
    NC Wildlife Resources Commission

    August 10 at 6:53 AM ·

    In late May, biologists began to receive reports of sick and dying songbirds in Washington D.C., Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, and Kentucky. Infected birds appear to be lethargic and/or have crusty or swollen eyes. More recently additional states have been included, and our agency has begun receiving reports of sick and dying birds which may be due to the new disease.

    To reduce the spread of this outbreak, we recommend:

    - Remove bird feeders entirely until the threat subsides. At this time natural food sources are abundant.
    - Clean feeders and bird baths FREQUENTLY with a 10% bleach solution. Rinse with water and allow to dry before refilling.
    - Consider native plantings as a healthier, safer alternative to feeders. You can find a list of plants native to your area from the Audubon Society.
    - Avoid handling sick or dead birds. If moving a bird is necessary, use gloves or an inverted plastic bag to prevent direct contact with it.
    - Keep pets (including pet birds) away from sick or dead wild birds.

    If you find dead birds, email with a photo of the dead bird(s), including date found and location. Report sick birds to a licensed rehabilitator (


    CT bird deaths concerns expand: Ducks, raptors, terns, even chickens being tested for mystery disease

    Ed Stannard
    Aug. 11, 2021
    Updated: Aug. 11, 2021 4:17 p.m.

    The variety of birds that are dying in mysterious ways is growing, though it is unknown whether whatever has been causing birds to die is spreading to other species.
    On Tuesday, a roseate tern was found with neurological symptoms at Sandy Point in West Haven, Patrick Comins, executive director of the Connecticut Audubon Society, said Wednesday. “There are a lot of things that can cause that, blue-green algae or red tide.”
    Within the last two weeks, several swans and ducks were found dead in Great Meadows Marsh in Stratford, Comins said. Boom cannons were brought in to scare away other waterfowl. “They were kind of floating face down in the water and that’s usually how botulism plays out,” he said. But that hasn’t been determined.

    During an online webinar Wednesday, Jenny Dickson, director of DEEP’s Wildlife Division, said terns and raptors have been reported with symptoms that come with the mystery syndrome: swollen and crusty eyes, neurological problems such as an inability to stand.

    And Brian Evans, migratory bird ecologist at the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center, located at the National Zoo in Washington, D.C., said that while reports are “really, really scant,” chickens have been reported with symptoms.

    All these add to the growing list of songbirds, woodpeckers and hummingbirds that are being tested at the UConn lab in Storrs.
    "Safety and security don't just happen, they are the result of collective consensus and public investment. We owe our children, the most vulnerable citizens in our society, a life free of violence and fear."
    -Nelson Mandela


    • #17
      Statement on Unidentified Songbird Illness Reported from Eastern U.S.

      July 14, 2021 Updated on August 23, 2021.

      A joint statement of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine.
      Many people are concerned about the emergence of a new illness causing crusty eyes, tremors, and paralysis among songbirds in several eastern states including Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana, and District of Columbia. This illness and the uncertainty around it are upsetting, and we share your concern.
      The Cornell Lab of Ornithology does not have experts studying the situation. We have prepared this statement with the help of the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine to summarize the state of knowledge of experts in state and federal agencies who are working to understand this event. For a detailed summary of the situation, please see this statement from the U.S. Geological Survey.
      The main points to know
      • Please follow your own state’s guidelines on whether to take down bird feeders. Find your state agency here.
      • Although little is known yet about the cause, as of mid-July, it appears that the incidence of the illness may be waning.
      • No human health or domestic livestock/poultry issues have been reported.
      • The illness is not caused by any of the major known bird diseases such as West Nile, salmonella, avian influenza, House Finch eye disease, Trichomonas parasites, etc.
      • The species most frequently affected are fledgling (juvenile) Blue Jays, Common Grackles, European Starlings, and American Robins, along with a few other species. Symptoms include crusty eyes and neurological signs such as tremors or partial paralysis.
      • We don’t yet know if the illness is caused by a disease organism (i.e., virus, bacteria, or parasite), or if it’s the result of a toxic substance in the landscape.
      • If it’s a disease, we don’t know how it’s transmitted. It might be directly transmissible from bird to bird (like a cold or the flu), or might require a vector (such as with malaria, where a mosquito transmits the illness)...

      Ask Congress to Investigate COVID Origins and Government Response to Pandemic H.R. 834

      i love myself. the quietest. simplest. most powerful. revolution ever. ---- nayyirah waheed

      (My posts are not intended as advice or professional assessments of any kind.)
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      • #18
        As the East's Songbird Epidemic Fades, the Cause Remains Unknown

        Affected states recommended taking down feeders during the disease outbreak, but now all say feeders can go back up.

        By Lauren Leffer
        Reporter, Audubon magazine

        September 22, 2021

        The mysterious outbreak that caused widespread songbird death and sickness across the eastern and midwestern U.S., statewide feeder removal recommendations, and public concern appears to have subsided.

        From late April through July, reports of disoriented and dead songbirds with swollen eyes proliferated across almost a dozen states. Most accounts were of juvenile birds, particularly American Robins, Blue Jays, Common Grackles, and European Starlings—common visitors to backyards and bird feeders. Sick birds were officially documented in Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana, and the District of Columbia. Agencies in each of the states recommended taking down feeders and draining birdbaths as a precaution against social spread.

        As of September 10, all states have lifted those advisories. The last agencies to do so were the Ohio and Indiana Departments of Natural Resources. The change came in response to a steep decrease in the number of reports of sick and dead birds. But even as active case numbers fall, the cause of the illness remains a mystery.
        "Safety and security don't just happen, they are the result of collective consensus and public investment. We owe our children, the most vulnerable citizens in our society, a life free of violence and fear."
        -Nelson Mandela