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Unknown illness killing songbirds across several states, so far not in Missouri

So far, the illness has not been confirmed in Missouri
Published: Jul. 30, 2021 at 5:38 PM CDT|Updated: Jul. 30, 2021 at 6:35 PM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - Bird watching is a popular hobby here in the Ozarks. Whether you’re an avid watcher or just have a bird feeder in the backyard, the Missouri Department of Conservation is asking you to keep a closer eye on their behavior.

In some states, like in Kentucky, Indiana, Maryland and Virginia, hundreds of birds have died.

Symptoms of sick birds include:

“Eye puffiness, uh, there’s some neurological behavior,” said Mo. Dept. of Conservation Media Specialist Francis Skalicky. “In other words, birds acting disoriented and stuff like that.”

The cause is still unknown and affects songbirds, like blue jays, grackles, starlings and robins. While there have been reports of the disease, to date, nothing has been confirmed.

“Generally whenever someone calls here, we refer them to the Missouri Department of Conservation, so they can follow up and investigate,” said Jessica Kindall, Manager at Wild Birds Unlimited.

“We like our birds,” said Skalicky. “When something’s happening to them, we’re concerned about. That’s why this is such a stressing thing, but so far, to the best of our knowledge, it hasn’t been found in Missouri.”

For now, cleaning feeders and baths can go a long way to helping out.

“We recommend to get a bucket of hot soapy water,” said Kindall. “Put your feeder in there, let it soak, scrub it up and then also dip it in a diluted bleach and water solution, rinse very well, and let it air dry.”

Now if you do encounter any birds acting strangely, look sick or you have any dead birds on your property, you’re asked to contact the Missouri Department of Conservation with that information. The simplest way to do that is emailing them at WildlifeHealth@mdc.mo.gov

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