Sick, dying songbirds seen in three-quarters of Indiana
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) – Sick and dying songbirds with unexplained disease have now been found in three-quarters of counties in Indiana, according to state wildlife officials.
The Indiana Department of Natural Resources said sick and dying songbirds were found in 69 of Indiana’s 92 counties, up from 53 two weeks ago. Indianapolis Star reported.
The sick songbirds were initially found in late May in Monroe County, southern Indiana.
MNR continues to investigate the problem and possible causes of the sick birds. The state agency has asked people to take the bird feeders apart as they try to determine the cause or causes.
Sick songbirds have also been found in Ohio, Kentucky, Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania.
Birds exhibit symptoms of neurological disease, such as swelling of the eyes and a crusty discharge around the eyes. Some were also lethargic and weak, tripped or had tremors.
Songbirds such as American robins, blue jays, blackbirds, starlings and sparrows seem to be the most affected. But brown-headed cowbirds, European starlings, domestic finches, northern cardinals, red-headed woodpeckers and wren have also been found ill.
The DNR began its investigation just over three weeks ago and has sent several samples to the Indiana Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory for testing.
Residents of Indiana can report any cases of sick birds they have found to the DNR online at at.IN.gov/sickwildlife. They are advised to use disposable gloves and toss the bird in a plastic bag if they need to touch the bird.