DNR asking WI residents to keep an eye out for birds that are dying by unidentified illness

Local News

(WFRV) – The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is following reported incidents of bird deaths that were first reported in the eastern part of the US.

According to officials, the bird deaths started in late May and wildlife managers in Washington, D.C., Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia and Kentucky received reports of the sick and dying birds. The symptoms of the birds were eye swelling and crusty discharge, as well as neurological signs.

The exact illness that has been affecting the birds has not been identified and has not been linked to bird deaths in Wisconsin. The DNR is asking the public to report sick or dead birds with the previously listed symptoms out of precaution.

The DNR has reportedly received reports of a few birds in Wisconsin with swollen, crusty eyes. The DNR says that some of these reports could be associated with multiple causes and may not be associated with the illness that has been reported in the eastern part of the US.

“Several wildlife laboratories, including the National Wildlife Health Center in Madison, are working to identify the cause or causes of these cases,” says DNR Wildlife Veterinarian Lindsey Long. 

So far the following states have been identified with cases:

  • Virginia
  • West Virginia
  • Kentucky
  • Ohio
  • Indiana
  • Maryland
  • Delaware
  • New Jersey
  • Pennslvania
  • Washington, D. C.

The following birds have been mainly associated with the illness:

  • Juvenile or fledgling blue jays
  • Common grackles
  • Euorpean starlings
  • American robins

If a bird is seen with the symptoms, the DNR is asking to report it to the local conservation biologist or wildlife biologist.

The DNR is also recommending that anyone who sees sick or dead birds at their bird feeders or birdbaths should remove their feeders. The DNR also says that if there are no sick or dead birds at the feeders or baths, clean and disinfect them regularly with soap and water, followed by a rinse in 10% bleach solution.

For more information regarding birds in Wisconsin, visit DNR’s website.

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