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Bird disease: what can we do?

An issue of significant concern is occurring in the bird population of the eastern United States. Multiple websites are offering detailed information on what is known as a bird mortality event. This means that significant numbers of birds have been dying in a period of weeks to months of what appears to be a disease with a common origin.

The problem was first recognized in late May 2021 when wildlife agents in Washington, D.C., Virginia, Maryland, West Virginia, and Kentucky began receiving reports of birds with crusting around the eyes and neurological symptoms like head shaking, lethargy, and confused behavior on the ground. Some of the sick birds were blind. Most of the affected birds were fledglings and juveniles. They were visibly ill and many were dying. Since that time, reports of sick and dying birds have surfaced in Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Ohio.

Affected birds include common grackles, European starlings, blue jays, and American robins. Illness in house s...

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