Songbirds Are Mysteriously Dying Across the First State  

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The DNREC advises Delawareans to remove bird feeders and baths from their yards and take precautions to curb these deaths.

Scientists are investigating reports regarding the mysterious deaths of various songbirds in several states across the nation, including Delaware.  

The most common symptoms in these birds are crusting around the eyes often associated with blindness, plus various adverse neurological symptoms,” says Jordan Terrell, environmental scientist for the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC).It has affected multiple species, mostly commonly occurring in blue jays, European starlings, common grackles and American robins, with fledgling or juvenile birds apparently being more afflicted than adults.” 

The DNREC has received more than 50 reports of affected songbirds since mid-May, and the cause for this sickness is yet to be determined. Wildlife agencies and experts are trying to solve this mystery.  

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“Until we know the cause, we cannot address preventative measures,” says Terrell. But the DNREC advises anyone who keeps bird feeders or baths to take the following precautions:   

  • Cease feeding birds at feeders and providing water in bird baths. 
  • Before reactivating bird feeders and baths when it is deemed safe by animal health experts to do so, clean them with a 10-percent bleach solution.  
  • Avoid handling wild birds, and wear disposable gloves if it is necessary to handle a bird. 
  • Keep domestic pets away from sick or dead wild birds.  

If a live wild bird is seen exhibiting these symptoms, contact Tri-State Bird Rescue & Research at 302-737-9543. If a dead wild bird that is suspected of displaying symptoms, contact the DNREC Division of Fish and Wildlife at 302-735-3600.   

Look for updates on this mysterious event by following @DelawareDNREC on Facebook and Twitter.  

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