LOUISVILLE, KY - JULY 02: Michael Patton, an avian biologist, holds a deceased robin that was preserved and reported in to the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources on July 2, 2021 in Louisville, Kentucky. The Department of Natural Resources and the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife are encouraging people to assist in reporting unexplained bird deaths. Animal health experts are investigating reports of birds sick with eye swelling and neurological problems and are unsure of the cause. (Photo by Jon Cherry/Getty Images)

If you come across a dead bird, don’t touch it. A yet to be identified songbird illness has been infecting and killing birds in states across the mid-Atlantic and now North Carolina. According to the NC Wildlife Resources Commission, the mysterious infection may now be present in our state. The disease, first reported four months ago, has been documented in Maryland, DC, West Virginia, Virginia, and Kentucky.

In late May, biologists began to receive reports of sick and dying songbirds in Washington D.C., Maryland, Virginia,...

Posted by NC Wildlife Resources Commission on Tuesday, August 10, 2021

Symptoms include the birds’ eyes crusting over, a general lethargic state, behavioral abnormalities, and death. It is believed to be spread when birds congregate at large feeders or birdbaths. Officials recommend removing these things temporarily. They also advise against handling sick or dead avians, if it’s necessary use gloves to relocate them. Also, keep your pets away from any sick or dead wild birds.

A cause of the illness and deaths has yet to be identified. At this time no impact on humans or any other animals has been reported. The deceased birds are currently undergoing testing to determine what it is. So far they have determined the songbird illness killing the birds in North Carolina is not the avian flu, West Nile, Salmonella, or Chlamydia.