Officials: ‘Stop feeding birds’; mysterious deaths reported across Pennsylvania

Regional News

CHESTER COUNTY, Pa. (WTAJ) — The Pennsylvania Game Commission revealed Friday that nesting and fledgling songbirds in Chester County are experiencing a mysterious illness that causes ocular issues, neurologic issues and large numbers of deceased birds in some cases.

This comes as wildlife officials in neighboring states including West Virginia, Maryland, Deleware, Indiana and Ohio have reported similar mortality events among the avian species. Diagnostic laboratories including the University of Pennsylvania Wildlife Futures Program are investigating the cause of disease.

“They’re noticing some neurological issues the birds just aren’t stable and they’re finding them dead in big numbers,” President of the Juniata Valley Audubon Society , John Carter said.

The Pa. Game Commission says congregating birds could potentially transmit the unidentified illness. Therefore, they are recommending that residents stop feeding birds and remove any bird feeders to help contain the spread into our region. Hummingbird feeders are also included.

The Audubon Nature Stores will also reportedly be discontinuing the sale of bird feeders and seed for the time being. Songbirds mainly consist of blue jays, starlings, common grackles, robins and cardinals.

So far 27 PA counties have identified the sick birds, all of which are being studied. “They are doing several tests it is bacteria and toxins, bacteria none of these tests have been conclusive yet so the tests are still out,” Park Manager at Canoe Creek State Park, Joe Basil said.

Residents are encouraged to report any occurrences of the bird illness by submitting a form at vet.upenn.edu.

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