You may have heard about the discovery of many dead birds, mostly young Crows, Blue Jays, Grackles, European Starlings were first found in late May in Washington DC. The scientists at the Smithsonian began testing to determine the cause of these deaths. By June dead birds were being found in some counties in Kentucky, Indiana, West Virgin1a, Maryland and Ohio as well as a few others eastern states. As testing has continued the following pathogens HAVE NOT BEENdetected in any birds tested: : Salmonella and Chlamydia (bacterial pathogens); avian influenza virus, West Nile virus and other flaviviruses, Newcastle disease virus and other paramyxoviruses, herpesviruses and poxviruses; and Trichomonas parasites as well as Mycoplasmal conjunctivitis which was being seen in finch and siskins this winter.
Transmission electron microscopy and additional diagnostic tests, including microbiology, virology, parasitology, and toxicology are ongoing with results expected any day now.
Wildlife Officials in all EFFECTED States are recommending removal and disinfecting of feeders and water features as a precautionary action to help lessen the spread IF it is a viral disease, they simply do NOT know as of yet.
In looking at all the evidence collected so far the emergence of the Brood X cicadas seem to be a 'common' factor in some location/counties where large numbers of these dead birds are being found. Conversations with entomologists and ornithologists lean towards 'poisoning' as a "suspect' either from direct use of pesticides or perhaps from heavy metals and other poisons within the cicadas from their 17 year 'stay' underground.
There is also a theory that a fungal disease found in cicadas might be the cause of the illness as birds ingest large quantities of these abundant insects. Until definitive results are available all these are just theories under investigation. As I stated lab results are expected in about 4-6 weeks. Note that the lifespan of these cicadas are also 4-6 weeks so it also remains to be seen once they are all deceased will the birds stop dying?? All part of the BIG mystery.
So what should you personally do? If you live in one of the states/counties where dead birds with these symptoms are occurring, do as your State authorities recommend.
Here in Tennessee so far there have been no sick or dead birds found exhibiting the classic symptoms. However it is recommended that if you feed birds that you be proactive and clean and disinfect your feeders and water features with a 10% bleach solution and rake up any hulls or leftover seed This should be part of your normal maintenance routine and will help to avoid disease in the future.
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Welcome The Newest Additions To The Eastern Golden Eagle Research Project
Two new Golden Eagles have been trapped in Tennessee. One on Bear Hollow WMA named Bear Hollow and another trapped on Prentice Cooper WMA.