Mysterious Bird Deaths and How We Can Help

Screenshot of Audubon's report on the songbird epidemic. Image shows a gloved hand holding a small bird with its eye crusted shut and the headline "Scientists Still Searching for the Pathogen Behind the East's Songbird Epidemic."
Screenshot of Audubon’s report on the songbird epidemic.

By Frank Gallagher, NANPA Blog Coordinator

Many photographers have backyard bird feeders and enjoy photographing their avian visitors. Beginning in May, though, wildlife managers in a number of mid-Atlantic states, from New Jersey through Florida and as far west as Indiana, began seeing sick and dying birds. Audubon, Science and a number of other media outlets have reported that the distressed birds had swollen, crusty eyes and some neurological symptoms. Because birds are at increased risk of transmitting diseases when congregating at feeders, authorities in the eleven affected states (NJ, DE, PA, KY, WV, MD, VA, IN, OH, TN, FL) and the District of Columbia are recommending that people stop feeding birds altogether. And, if you are in or around the affected states and encounter sick or dead birds, wildlife managers urge you to contact your state or district wildlife conservation agency for instructions and to help them track this outbreak.

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