Updated July 7th, 2021
Recent unexplained bird deaths in the region have prompted the West Virginia Department of Natural Resources and the U.S. Geological Survey to advise the removal of bird feeders and suet feeders until further notice in West Virginia. The birds have shown symptoms of eye swelling & crusting, neurological distress, or have been found deceased without any natural signs for their cause of death. Starlings, blue jays, robins, grackles and brown-headed cowbirds have been reported to be the most commonly affected, although other species have also been reported. At this time, hummingbird feeders can remain up.
The West Virginia Division of Natural Resources, District of Columbia Department of Energy and Environment, Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources and National Park Service are continuing to work with diagnostic laboratories to investigate the cause of mortality. Those laboratories include the USGS National Wildlife Health Center, the University of Georgia Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study and the University of Pennsylvania Wildlife Futures Program.
Birds congregating at feeders and baths can transmit disease to one another. Therefore, the state and District agencies recommend that the public in the outbreak area:
- Cease feeding birds until this wildlife mortality event has concluded;
- Clean feeders and bird baths with a 10% bleach solution;
- Avoid handling birds, but wear disposable gloves if handling is necessary; and
- Keep pets away from sick or dead birds as a standard precaution.
If you see sick or dead birds on your property, please contact the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources district office for further information and instructions. Local Chapter Phone # (304) 822 3551, General DNR Contacts visit: https://commerce.wv.gov/agencies/division-of-natural-resources/?fbclid=IwAR3xRSklzYkBsuywMExZd5BydC16w0PmB_p6IgSS9zz4iOHaqXuahX5hxnY