The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency is monitoring reports of a disease affecting birds in several eastern and Midwestern states.
According to TWRA, reports of dead birds have been increasing in Tennessee due to the recent news coverage of a disease affecting birds in several eastern and Midwestern states. The disease is reportedly causing eye swelling and crusty discharge from the eyes of birds and may also be associated with neurological symptoms.
A significant number of reports have come from Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Indiana. Most birds reported exhibiting this condition are young, and have included common grackles, European starlings, blue jays and American robins along with other species of songbirds.
TWRA officials say there are no confirmed cases of the disease in Tennessee and there have been no reports of the disease occurring in humans, poultry or livestock.
Disease experts are diligently working to determine the cause of the disease and have not found signs of infection from known illnesses (i.e. Salmonella, avian influenza, West Nile virus, Newcastle disease, herpesviruses, poxviruses, and Trichomonas parasites). TWRA is working closely with regional experts to further explore the cause and to determine if the disease is affecting birds in Tennessee. Anyone with questions or wanting additional information can contact TWRA Bird Conservation Coordinator David Hanni at David.Hanni@TN.gov.
The TWRA made the following recommendations to residents:
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 summer).
Clean up any excess feed that has spilled or was placed onto the ground
Clean feeders and birdbaths with a 10 percent bleach solution (one-part bleach mixed with nine parts water), rinse with water and allow to air dry. Do not replace them.
Avoid handling birds unless necessary. If you do handle them wear disposable gloves. If picking up a dead bird, place an inverted plastic bag over your hand to avoid direct contact with the bird.
Keep pets (including pet birds) away from sick or dead wild birds as a standard precaution.
If you find recently deceased birds exhibiting crustiness or bulging eyes and/or neurological issues, please use your discretion to contact the TWRA at (615) 781-6500.