PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) – A mysterious disease has killed birds across the country, and health officials don’t yet know what it is.
States stretching to the east coast and moving west have seen cases of the disease, with some even calling on residents to remove bird feeders and baths.
As it moves closer to Illinois with cases that have been found in Indiana, naturalists and health officials have said it is worth watching to make sure it doesn’t spread. not in our region.
So far, officials have said the disease has affected blue jays and finches, both of which are songbirds.
Peoria Park District naturalist Susie Grana Ingram said the disease is a complete mystery. She said authorities have ruled out the most common diseases in birds.
She explained that there are two known ways for the disease to manifest itself. If the bird has crusty eyes or begins to behave strangely – circling or not flying away when humans or other animals approach – this bird is probably sick.
Ingram said that in states where the disease is spreading, health officials are calling for action to essentially keep social birds away.
Here in Illinois, she said the recommendation is to wash birdbaths and bird feeders once a week with a 10% bleach solution.
“Birds face many different threats, from climate change and widespread use of pesticides to habitat loss and degradation,” Ingram said. “So that’s something that, in the face of all of this, might not be a big deal, but it’s something that we take seriously as biologists and want to keep an eye on.”
She said those who see a dead bird or a bird with the symptoms listed above should report it to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.