Something is killing birds to the south, part 2. Here’s a Q&A explaining what you need to know.
July 7, 2021 — An unidentified condition has been killing songbirds in the southern, mid-Atlantic states, and mid-west states.
Here are 7 key things Connecticut residents need to know.
1. Has the condition reached Connecticut?
It’s unclear. We’ve heard reports of dead birds, especially in the Milford and Hartford areas. But reports of birds with the same symptoms as those that have died elsewhere have been very rare.
Those symptoms are mainly swollen or cloudy eyes, eyes and crusty discharges from the eyes.
2. Do we know what is killing birds elsewhere?
No. But officials in other states say they have ruled out salmonella; avian influenza; West Nile virus; Newcastle disease viruses; other paramyxoviruses, herpesviruses and poxviruses; and Trichomonas parasites.
3. If we don’t know what is killing the birds, why should bird feeders be taken in?
As a precaution. If the disease is infectious, it will spread in places where birds are close together.
4. What should I do if I see a live bird with symptoms?
If you see a bird with symptoms and it is still alive, call a wildlife rehabber. Do not attempt to capture the bird before talking to a rehabber. Click here for information about rehabbers.
5. What should I do if I find a dead bird?
Photograph it. If you need to touch it, wear disposable gloves or an inside-out plastic bag. Gloves and a double bag would be ideal.
Report it to the CT DEEP’s database, which includes this advice:
“If you see several dead birds (>5) in one location or notice that several birds die in the same area over the course of several days, this is a situation where testing of the dead birds may be warranted. If you observe this type of die-off, in addition to filling out this form, please call the DEEP Wildlife Division at 860-424-3011.”
To dispose of dead birds, place them in a sealable plastic bag and discard with household trash. This will prevent disease transmission to other birds and wildlife.
6. Should I take in my bird bath and hummingbird feeder?
Yes, for the same reason as above. If the condition is infectious, it will spread wherever birds congregate.
7. How will the birds survive without bird feeders?
Connecticut Audubon often says: bird feeders are for people — they’re a great way for people to enjoy birds. But there’s always wild food available for birds and they will survive without feeders. At this time of year in particular, songbirds eat insects and seeds from plants and trees.
Our thanks to the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection for their guidance on this.