Unknown Bird Illness
Special Statement: Unknown Bird Illness
You may have heard the sad news that there have been multiple reports of mysterious bird deaths in some eastern and mid-western states. As of this moment, there are NO confirmed cases in New York State. Only approximately 30% of fledglings make it to adulthood, in general. We have not seen any unusual increase in bird deaths at this time. The overall scale of this outbreak and the cause of the bird mortalities are not known yet. In addition, while the deceased birds were originally reported in the Washington DC area, they have also been found in parts of Northern Virginia, Maryland, West Virginia, Ohio, Maine, Kentucky, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Indiana. Both the state and Federal Wildlife officials are actively looking for answers.
There is much speculation as to potential causes, including that this illness might be related to the Brood X cicada emergence in some way. The timing and geographical location of these occurrences makes this an interesting idea, but nothing has been concluded and this is purely speculation.
What we know so far:
Symptoms include swollen, crusty eyes and balance/neurological issues.
93% of deceased birds are fledglings.
Overwhelming majority affected are Blue Jays, grackles, starlings, and robins.
There is no known cause or cure at this time.
Lab results have ruled out the most common diseases that would typically impact feeder birds, such as salmonella, conjunctivitis, avian pox, avian flu, West Nile, chlamydia, New Castle disease, and more.
Testing is ongoing. We are all waiting for further results. Toxicology reports have not come out yet.
There have been no confirmed links between dead birds in NY and this disease.
Seems to correlate with the Brood X cicada timeline. However, it is not confirmed to be related.
In the Washington DC area, where it was first found, it has already subsided. There have been very few, if any, reports of infected birds in the last 2-3 weeks.
Birds can die from a number of reasons such as pesticides, window collisions, vehicle collisions, cats, mold, and more.
What we do NOT know so far:
Scientists and researches have not found the cause yet.
It is not known if it is contagious among wild birds. However, it does not appear to spread to humans or poultry.
We do not know if it is some sort of toxin due to pesticide use or other poisons, as we are still waiting for toxicology reports.
What do we recommend:
Clean your feeders and baths regularly with a 10% bleach solution (9 parts water, 1 part bleach) and rinse thoroughly. Currently "regularly" should be at least once a week.
Keep seed dry. Discard any wet or moldy seed. Clean feeders and let dry completely before refilling with fresh seed.
Keep the area below your feeders clean of debris or spilled seed.
Clean hummingbird feeders at least twice a week and replace with fresh nectar. If you are using Nectar Defender, then clean every two weeks and replace with fresh nectar.
Keep your eyes open to anything unusual.
If you find a recently deceased bird with a swollen, crusty eye, bag it immediately, put it on ice, and call the DEC (631) 444-0200 or Cornell Lab of Ornithology (1-800-843-2473). Be sure to wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water.
If the bird is not recently deceased, bury the bird.
IF you find a diseased or deceased bird and contact the DEC or Cornell, remove all feeders and clean and disinfect them. Wait for results of the necropsy.
Keep us updated on all findings.
The health and well-being of birds is our number one priority! We know that under normal circumstances, feeding the birds can have a tremendously positive effect on them when done responsibly. Feel free to stop by our store or call us with any questions. We appreciate your support as always! #savethesongbirds