We have all become too familiar over the past year and a half with the idea of ââsocial distancing to prevent the spread of the disease. Now, environmental officials in Pennsylvania, Delaware, and other states are urging residents to eliminate places provided by people for birds to congregate as a mysterious disease is killing our feathered friends.
Jordan Terrell, an environmental specialist and wildlife biologist from Delaware, said the state began receiving calls from mid-May to the end of May from people who found dead birds.
âWhat we are seeing in the field is actually that these birds have neurological symptoms that cause erratic flight and strange behavior, and we also see scabs and swelling in the eyes which are usually associated with almost blindness. . Their eyes encrusted, it gets so bad that they can’t see what they’re doing, âshe said.
The birds die almost immediately after exhibiting these symptoms, Terrell said.
The State Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control sends samples of dead birds to the animal diagnostic laboratory at the New Bolton Center at the University of Pennsylvania in Kennett Square.
âIn Delaware, we see this mainly in blue jays, starlings and robins. It has also been seen in brown grouse, âTerrell said.
Delaware has received 50 reports so far. The Pennsylvania Game Commission says dead birds have been found in 27 counties, including 15 cases in Philadelphia, Bucks, Montgomery and Chester counties. There have also been limited reports in New Jersey.
Birds with similar symptoms have been found in Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, and Washington, DC
Even though the cause of the birds’ deaths is unclear, Delaware environmental officials have issued a public notice for bird watchers to limit places where birds congregate. That means taking that bird feeder apart and emptying the birdbath until scientists can figure out what’s going on.