CT Audubon Society: Take down bird feeders to prevent spread of deadly ‘unknown affliction’ in birds

Animals and Wildlife

FAIRFIELD, Conn. (WTNH) — The Connecticut Audubon Society is advising residents to take down their bird feeders due to an unknown affliction reportedly killing songbirds in neighboring parts of the country.

The Society tells News 8 there have been a few dozen reports of dead birds around Milford.

Patrick Comins, Exec. Dir. of CT Audubon Society explained, “They’ve been tested for every known bird disease, and so far have tested negative for all of those. It may be a novel parasite or disease that’s affecting them…The birds have been lethargic; they have crusty eyes seems to be a very common thread throughout them. Or, they’re just found dead with crusty eyes.”

The society and experts do not know what the exact affliction is, but they are asking people to do the following to prevent any cases:

  • Stop feeding birds and providing water for the time being.
  • Bring feeders and birdbaths in and clean them with a 10% bleach solution.
  • Keep pets away from sick or dead birds.
  • Do not handle dead or injured birds. Wear disposable gloves if nesessary to handle a bird.
  • Place deceased birds in a sealable plastic bag and discard in the household trash to prevent possible transmission.

The Society said unusual numbers of dead birds were first reported in Washington D.C, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, and Kentucky in May. Since then, there have been reports from Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Indiana. 

The afflicted birds include Common Grackle, Blue Jay, European starling, American Robin, Northern Cardinal, House Finch, House Sparrow, Eastern Bluebird, Red-bellied Woodpecker, and Carolina Wren.

Many of the affected birds have been immatures, appearing lethargic and having swollen eyes and crusty discharges.

The society said to report any dead birds to the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection. Take photos and keep track of the date and location.

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