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Audubon: Take Down Bird Feeders, Help Stop Mystery Songbird Disease

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From the Editor, 7/22/21, Photo Courtesy of Blue Ridge Wildlife Center

Songbirds, especially the young of this year, continue to die of a disease which has ornithologists baffled, and scrambling to halt the spread. So far, no confirmed cases have appeared in New York State, but ask the Audubon told reporters from Jamestown’s Post-Journal:

“We have been following this for the last few weeks,” said Leigh Rovegno, Audubon Community Nature Center executive director. “It has been moving closer and closer to the area until we got a report of one in Erie. We have also been getting reports of affected birds in Warren and Russell, Pa., so we thought it was time to get out some information.”

Warren, Pennsylvania sits on the border of New York, leading to a common-sense assumption that the disease has already spread throughout Western New York. Afflicted birds all appear to be disoriented, partially blinded, and have noticeable discharge around the eyes.

If you see a dead or distressed bird, be cautious as the transmissibility to humans or mammals is unknown. Advice from Alison Kocek, vice president of Onondaga Audubon:

“Anyone who finds a dead bird should treat it as if it has a contagious disease. Wear disposable gloves when handling the bird, place it in a sealed plastic container and throw it in the garbage, she said.

You can take a photo of the bird and email it to the state Department of Environmental Conservation at [email protected]. You can also contact a local DEC office or call (518) 478-2203. Visit the NYSDEC Website for more information on reporting.

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