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.
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.