Pennsylvania wildlife officials investigating mysterious songbird deaths

Pennsylvania wildlife officials are investigating dozens of mysterious songbird deaths due to a health condition that remains unknown.

According to the Pennsylvania Game Commission,  both adult and young birds exhibit clinical symptoms, including discharge and/or crusting around the eyes, eye lesions, and/or neurologic signs such as falling over or head tremors. Affected birds are being tested for several toxins, parasites, bacterial diseases, and viral infections. So far, test results have been inconclusive.

Numerous reports have also been received across the United States.

In Pennsylvania, the reports have been received from 27 counties, including Philadelphia, Bucks, Montgomery, Chester, Cumberland, Dauphin, Franklin, Lancaster, Lebanon, Perry, Schuylkill, and York.

Twelve species affected include the Blue Jay, European Starling, Common Grackle, American Robin, Northern Cardinal, House Finch, House Sparrow, Eastern Bluebird, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Carolina Chickadee, and Carolina Wren.

Officials provided the following tips until more information is known about the circumstances surrounding the deaths:

  • Cease feeding birds and providing water in bird baths until this wildlife mortality event has concluded to prevent potential spread between birds and to other wildlife.
  • Clean feeders and bird baths with a 10% bleach solution.
  • Avoid handling dead or injured wild birds. Wear disposable gloves if it’s necessary to handle a bird.
  • Keep pets away from sick or dead birds as a standard precaution.
  • To dispose of dead birds, place them in a sealable plastic bag and discard with household trash. This will prevent disease transmission to other birds and wildlife.

If you wish to report any incidents, please click here.



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