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Unexplained bird deaths are being reported across the state


Messenger Staff

According to the Kentucky Department of Fish & Wildlife, reports from multiple counties in Kentucky started coming into the office in late May about sick and dying birds. The most common species of birds to be affected so far are blue jays, common grackles and European starlings, displaying symptoms of eye swelling with crusty discharge, signs of neurological problems and death. Other states, including Indiana, Ohio, Washington D.C., Virginia, Maryland and West Virginia, have also experienced similar cases.

“Kentucky Fish and Wildlife and other states’ wildlife agencies are working with diagnostic laboratories to investigate the cause(s) of mortality,” the agency said. “We have shipped numerous affected bird specimens to the Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study at the University of Georgia for pending diagnostics.”

At this time, the agency says that no definitive cause for this sickness and death has been determined yet. The Kentucky Department of Fish & Wildlife states that birds congregating at feeders and baths can transmit diseases to each other and makes the following recommendations:

1). The public in Jefferson County, Boone County and Kenton County should stop feeding birds until further notice.

2). Everyone in Kentucky should clean their bird feeders and bird baths with a 10 percent bleach solution immediately and then once per week thereafter.

3). Avoid handling birds, but wear disposable gloves if handling is necessary.

4). Keep pets away from sick or dead birds as a standard precaution.

The agency asks that anyone who encounters sick or dead birds report it to KY Fish and Wildlife website.