Hundreds of birds are dying without explanation in Kentucky and Indiana

Published: Jun. 23, 2021 at 5:14 PM EDT|Updated: Jun. 23, 2021 at 7:01 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Birds across the South and Midwest are dying from an unusual and unexplained illness.

The most commonly affected birds are blue jays, common grackles, and European starlings. Nearly all cases have included physical and neurological symptoms, which wildlife experts say is unique. Symptoms include crusty or puffy eyes, seizures, visually impaired, and an inability to stay balanced.

Wildlife experts have tracked a significant increase in cases over the past month in at least six states, including Kentucky and Indiana. In Southern Indiana, illness or death was reported in Monroe, Clark, and Jefferson counties. In Kentucky, cases have been reported in Jefferson, Kenton, and Boone counties.

USGS National Wildlife Health Center is working with state agencies, such as the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, Indiana Animal Disease Diagnostic, and the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources to track the disease. At this time, a cause has yet to be determined.

Wildlife experts are asking the public to refrain from feeding birds until more can be learned about the disease, and report any cases to a local wildlife office.

“We’re advising that people take down their bird feeders and clean them with a 10-percent bleach solution, as well as birdbaths,” Indiana DNR spokeswoman Allisyn Gillet said. “Take those feeders in until we know what the cause is so we can take as best of measures to make sure everything is safe, including pets. So any pets that you have, please kind of keep them away from those areas where those birds have been observed.”

Hoosiers can report cases here:

Kentuckians can report cases here:

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