TWRA studying mystery disease killing songbirds in eastern US


TENN. (WJHL) — Although there have not been confirmed cases of the unknown bird disease in Tennessee, the Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency (TWRA) said Friday that it’s working to determine the cause.

The mystery illness has swept through various locations in eastern and midwestern states and is reportedly causing eye swelling, neurological damage and death in birds.

Many of the reports have stemmed from Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Indiana.

Birds affected include common grackles, European starlings, blue jays, American robins and other songbirds.

The TWRA is working closely with regional experts to determine the cause and if the disease is affecting birds in Tennessee.

The TWRA recommends the following:

  • Cease feeding birds and cover bird baths — if dead birds are found — until this wildlife mortality event subsides (food sources are not limited during the summertime)
  • Clean up excess feed that has spilled or was placed onto the ground
  • Clean feeders and bird baths with a 10% bleach solution
  • Avoid handling birds unless necessary. If you must handle them, do so with disposable gloves
  • Keep pets (including pet birds) away from sick or dead wild birds as a standard precaution

The agency requests that anyone who sees a bird exhibiting crustiness or bulging eyes and/or neurological problems to contact the TWRA at 615-781-6500.

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