ARLINGTON, Va. (WDVM) — Residents are reporting an increased number of sick and dying birds across D.C., Virginia, Maryland and West Virginia, according to the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources (DWR).
Local wildlife managers have received more than 325 reports of sick and dying birds, many with eye issues, across the Commonwealth.
The volume of reports has led them to call this a “mortality event” with the majority of cases reported in Arlington and surrounding areas. DWR Veterinarian, Dr. Megan Kichgessner, said the reported sick birds include Blue Jays, Fledglings and Grackles. She advises residents to remove and clean birdbaths and feeders until further notice.
“We’re recommending that people pull in their birdbaths and their bird feeders, and that’s because when you have an attractant, like a bird feeder, that’s going to pull both sick and healthy birds in. The risk of disease transmission, if you’re dealing with an infectious disease, is pretty high,” said Kichgessner.
Officials also recommend residents clean birdbaths and feeders with a 10% bleach solution and keep them inside until the morality event subsides. If you come across a dead bird, discard its body while wearing gloves or using a shovel.
Many states and labs are involved, working to determine the cause of infection by performing extensive diagnostic tests. For now, they’re asking the public to send in reports if they come across any sick birds.