Here is some info from Audubon about the songbird deaths.

Laura Stenzler

Begin forwarded message:

From: Audubon New York <>
Date: July 13, 2021 at 8:46:03 AM EDT
To: Laura Stenzler <>
Subject: Precautionary Measures to Combat Songbird Epidemic

 Experts recommend taking down feeders until the source of the disease is 

[Audubon New 
[American Robin holding worm in 
Precautionary Measures to Combat Songbird 
Experts recommend taking down feeders until the source of the disease is 

Reports of sick and dying birds with vision problems, eye swelling (often with 
a crusty discharge), and neurological symptoms have been rippling across parts 
of the Mid-Atlantic and Southeastern United States. This illness is different 
from the conjunctivitis condition known as “finch eye disease,” but the exact 
cause is currently unknown.

While many songbirds have been impacted, the illness seems to be most common in 
juvenile Common Grackles, Blue Jays, European Starlings, and American Robins.

While the unknown disease affecting birds has not yet been reported in New 
York, it has been reported in neighboring Pennsylvania. We are taking a cue 
from wildlife agencies and suggesting the following five steps, for now:

1. Cease feeding birds and providing water in bird baths until this wildlife 
mortality event has concluded. This may be infectious.
2. Remove all feeders and bird baths and clean with a 10% bleach solution.
3. Avoid handling dead or injured wild birds. Wear disposable gloves if it is 
necessary to handle a bird.
4. Keep pets away from sick or dead birds as a standard precaution.
5. To dispose of dead birds, place them in a sealable plastic bag and discard 
with household trash. This will prevent disease transmission to other birds and 

Won’t it cause additional harm to remove birdfeeders that are familiar food 
sources for backyard birds?
Many of you may have concerns about ensuring birds have access to familiar food 
sources, including birdfeeders. We understand and want to provide a bit of 
reassurance that the impacts of these temporary precautions will have minimal 
impacts on the birds you love. Fortunately, it’s the summer breeding season and 
most bird species are relying on caterpillars and other insects to feed their 
young, natural food sources that are readily available in nature. Additionally, 
birds are resilient and crafty creatures who will adapt to changes in food 
supplies with relative ease, finding new opportunities when familiar options 
are no longer available. We hope this issue is identified and resolved as soon 
as possible and you can resume the use of feeders. In the meantime, for the 
safety of the birds, we encourage everyone to work together and err on the side 
of caution.

For NY specifically, residents should contact their Regional DEC Wildlife 
office if they find any birds with eye lesions or exhibiting neurologic signs.

Click here for more information on reporting dead or sick 
American Robin.
Dennis Derby/Audubon Photography Awards
Audubon New York
9 Thurlow Terrace, Suite 100, Albany, NY 12203
(518) 869-9731 |<>

© 2021 National Audubon Society, Inc.

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