Thu. Aug 18th, 2022

Blue jay

A blue jay photographed by a bird feeder. Blue jays and grackles in DC, Virginia, Maryland and West Virginia have been dying of a mysterious disorder since late May.
Jordan Confino via Flickr under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Something has killed birds in Washington, DC, Virginia, Maryland and West Virginia since late May, Mark Price reports for Charlotte Observer. Wildlife leaders are not yet sure what caused the deaths, according to a statement from the United States Geological Survey (USGS) released last week, but many of the birds have had crisp, swollen eyeballs accompanied by shaky movements suggestive of neurological problems.

“This is important because it seems to be pretty widespread and it also extends over a pretty good period of time. And it continues, ”Megan Kirchgessner, a veterinarian at Virginia’s Department of Wildlife Resources, tells Fredrick Kunkle about Washington Post.

Kirchgessner tells Post there have been at least 325 reports of sick or dying birds. So far, other animals do not appear to be affected by the mysterious disorder. Even among birds, reports have only concerned two types of birds: small gray and blue jays per. Post.

Federal agencies advise residents of the affected states to stop feeding birds until what is behind the wave of dead birds passes, because when birds gather around a feeder or a bath, they can exchange diseases with each other. Officials also recommend cleaning feeders and birdbaths with a 10 percent bleach and water solution.

“From a veterinary perspective, especially in the spring, when there is plenty of food, there is no reason for the feed to be out,” Kirchgessner told Post. “And to be perfectly honest, especially in a situation like this, they can do more harm than good.”

Although there is no evidence that what kills the birds can be transmitted to humans or other animals, the USGS statement urges people to avoid handling birds and contact their local wildlife conservation agency if they encounter sick or dead birds. . If it becomes necessary to handle the animal, the statement states to wear rubber gloves and, if necessary, dispose of dead birds inside sealed plastic bags in the rubbish bin.

State and federal laboratories are currently testing the remains of birds that died in the mortality event in hopes of learning more about the causes. Meanwhile, agencies are asking the public to report any sightings of sick or dead birds. Virginia residents can submit a report using this online form, DC residents can call City Wildlife at 202-882-1000, Maryland residents can call 1-877-463-6497, and people who encountered the sick or dead birds in West Virginia, should call their local Department of Natural Resources.

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