ST. LOUIS – Experts at the Missouri Department of Conservation are on the lookout for any reports of ill birds after at least nine states and the District of Columbia have recently received reports of hundreds of dead songbirds.
Although the MDC has not seen this illness in Missouri birds, they are still “on the lookout for any unusual reports,” MDC Wildlife Health Program supervisor Jasmine Batten said.
The cause of the slew of dead songbirds around the country is unknown at this time, “but symptoms have included crusty or puffy eyes, seizures, shaking, and other abnormal behavior,” MDC said.
The birds impacted the most by the illness include fledgling common grackles, blue jays, European starlings, and American robins.
There have been no reports of this illness impacting humans or domestic livestock and poultry.
The MDC recommends anyone who sees a group of sick or dead birds email WildlifeHealth@mdc.mo.gov. If sick or dead birds are seen at a bird feeder, take the bird feeder down immediately. They also recommend cleaning the feeder with a solution of 1-part bleach to 9-parts water and let the feeder air dry.
The MDC is holding an in-person program called “Birds: A Pulse Check on Birds of Southwest Missouri” on Tuesday, July 20 at MDC’s Shoal Creek Conservation Education Center in Joplin, Missouri. An online version of this program will be given on July 21 from 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.