WISCONSIN — The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is asking anyone who who observes a sick or dead bird to report it, and and to follow best practices for bird feeder and bird bath hygiene.
The department has been following reports from across the eastern United States about bird mortalities from an unidentified illness.
The birds with the illness are reported to have eye swelling and discharge, along with neurological symptoms.
While the illness hasn't been identified in Wisconsin, the department has received scattered reports of birds in the state with swollen and crusty eyes.
They say these reports may or may not be linked to the illness. Concerning symptoms along with the crusty, swollen eyes are seizures and lack of coordination.
"Several wildlife laboratories, including the National Wildlife Health Center in Madison, are working to identify the cause or causes of these cases," said DNR Wildlife Veterinarian Lindsey Long. "These symptoms can be from multiple causes, so these groups have been conducting expansive testing. As part of our continued monitoring of wildlife health, we ask Wisconsinites to report birds with swollen or scabbing eyes so that we may investigate further. Sometimes, we may ask to collect these birds for testing."
Cases have been reported in Washington D.C., Virginia, West Virginia, Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. They've been mostly been reported in juvenile or fledgling blue jays, common grackles, European starlings and American robins.
If you observe any sick or dead birds near your bird feeders or baths, you should remove your feeder. If you haven't noticed any, make sure to clean them and disinfect them regularly with soap and water, followed by a rinse with a 10% bleach solution.
Click here for more information on birds in Wisconsin.