NEW JERSEY – A morbidity and mortality event has been occurring in nestling and fledgling songbirds in the mid-Atlantic, extending into the Southeast and eastern upper Midwest, according to NJ Division of Fish and Wildlife officials.
Since mid-May, numerous young birds – mainly blue jays, starlings, and common grackles, but also robins and cardinals – have been found with eye and neurologic issues, and in some cases these birds have been found dead in large numbers, officials said.
Some, but not all, of the affected birds are showing neurologic signs consisting of head tremors, leg paresis (partial paralysis or weakness), ataxia (falling to the side) or inability to stand at all, and excessive vocalizations. Also, most of the birds are in good body condition—likely still being fed by their parents, officials said.
Cases have been reported in Washington, DC, TN, KY, VA, WV, MD, DE, IN, OH, FL, PA and NJ, officials said.
“Many theories have been posed as to the cause of this event, however no cause has been determined at this time,” officials said.
Those who observe birds with any of these symptoms or find dead birds on your property, should contact the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife’s Wildlife Veterinarian Dr. Nicole Lewis at Nicole.firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1-877-WARN-DEP to arrange for pick-up of the birds and for any additional instructions.
“Dead birds should be handled with gloves, double-bagged and kept cool until picked up. In addition, any bird baths or feeders should be cleaned and removed if you find sick or dead birds on your property,” officials said.