Division of Fisheries and Wildlife-Wildlife Advisory

Image of Town Seal

PRESS RELEASE
Milton Health Department
525 Canton Avenue
Milton, MA 02186
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT:
Caroline Kinsella
Health Director
Milton Health Department
617-898-4886 Fax 617-696-5172

Advisory can be found at: https://www.mass.gov/orgs/division-of-fisheries-and-wildlife

July 19, 2021
In late May, wildlife managers in Washington D.C., Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, and Kentucky began receiving reports of sick and dying birds with eye swelling and crusty discharge, as well as neurological signs. More recently, additional reports have been received from Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Indiana. While the majority of affected birds are reported to be fledgling common grackles, blue jays, European starlings, and American robins, other species of songbirds have been reported as well. No definitive cause(s) of illness or death have been determined at this time. The Division of Fisheries and Wildlife is urging the public as a cautionary measure to stop using bird feeders and bird baths at this time. Birds congregating at bird feeders and bird baths can transmit disease to one another.

MassWildlife, as well as other affected states, recommend taking the following precautions:
• Cease feeding birds until this wildlife morbidity/mortality event subsides.
• Clean feeders and bird baths with a 10% bleach solution (one part bleach mixed with nine parts water), rinse with water, and allow to air-dry.
• Avoid handling birds unless necessary. If you do handle them, wear disposable gloves and wash hands afterwards.
• If picking up a dead bird, place an inverted plastic bag over your hand to avoid direct contact with the bird. To dispose of dead birds, place them in a plastic bag, seal, and discard with household trash or alternatively bury them deeply.
• Keep pets (including pet birds) away from sick or dead wild birds as a standard precaution.

However, the mystery disease is not known to be in any of the New England states at this time. It is not necessary to report dead birds where strong evidence links the mortality to collision with glass or
vehicles or predation by cats. Please email reports to mass.wildlife@mass.gov and include your location, number and species of birds, symptoms observed, and any photos.