Songbirds get sick and no one knows why – NBC Connecticut



The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) is asking people to be on the lookout for sick songbirds in the area after reports of the problems from other parts of the country.

DEEP recommends that state residents take bird feeders and baths due to a recent disease that has spread to wild birds across the country.

According to DEEP, songbirds from the central Atlantic, southeast and upper Midwest have been found in large numbers dead or with undetermined neurological problems.

“The big problem is, we don’t know exactly what’s going on. So there are a lot of people out there trying to figure out what’s going on and whether or not it’s a communicable disease that birds communicate with each other, ”explained Brian Hess, a wildlife biologist with DEEP.

There have yet to be reports of sick birds in Connecticut, but DEEP is encouraging residents to take precautionary measures to prevent the spread of disease.

“We’ve had a few anecdotal public reports that match the symptom pattern, but none have been confirmed by a public lab, so I can’t honestly say yes, it’s here,” Hess added.

Symptoms reported in affected birds include swelling and discharge from the eyes, shaking of the head, weakness or inability of the legs to stand, and excessive vocalization.

The majority of birds reported to be affected by the disease include, but are not limited to, blackbirds, blue jays, starlings and American robins.

In addition to DEEP, the Connecticut Audubon Society recommends that residents stop feeding birds, clean birdbaths with a 10% bleach solution, and keep animals away from sick birds or dead.

If you see a dead bird, wear disposable gloves and place them in a sealable plastic bag. Throw it in the trash to prevent the spread of any disease.

The DEEP Wildlife Division will continue to monitor the condition and ask residents to report birds in distress to local rehabilitators and report dead birds to Connecticut Wild Bird Mortality Database. They are working with experts from across the country to gain more information on this mysterious disease.

“They’re looking at things like is it related to some kind of toxin, either human-made or produced by bacteria or fungus, could it be a nutritional deficiency, or is it something like a pathogen, a virus or a bacteria? This is all sort of being looked at and we’re in the early stages of trying to figure out what it is, ”Hess said.


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