A mysterious bird illness is making its way around the eastern part of the country, including northeast Ohio. Scientists are searching for the lead cause of this unfortunate bird epidemic. The primary species that tend to be most affected are blue jays, common grackles, European starlings, American robins, and house sparrows.

The disease is characterized as causing crusty eyes or impairment to vision for birds as well as limited mobility or disorientation. If you see a sick or dying bird, you can call 1-800-WILDLIFE or visit https://apps.ohiodnr.gov/wildlife/speciessighting/ to submit a report. If possible, try to identify the species of the bird and take note of any symptoms. Photos can be provided with a report.

Until more information is known about the source of the disease, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources is advising residents to take the following steps to keep birds safe:

  • Cease feeding birds until this wildlife mortality event has concluded.
  • Clean feeders and birdbaths with a 10% bleach solution.
  • Avoid handling birds, but wear disposable gloves if handling is necessary.
  • To dispose of dead birds, place in a plastic bag, seal, and discard with household trash or alternatively bury them deeply.
  • Keep pets away from sick or dead birds.

At the Nature Center, we have currently removed and cleaned bird feeders to help discourage the spread of this disease.

For more information and updates visit www.ohiodnr.gov