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Pennsylvania Audubon Society: Take down bird feeders until deadly disease can be better understood

PITTSBURGH — Wildlife experts and bird watchers are trying to figure out what’s blinding and even killing hundreds of birds across the U.S.

The Audubon Society of Western Pennsylvania is advising people to take their bird feeders (including hummingbird feeders) down until they are able to learn more about a disease causing neurological problems, conjunctivitis and death in songbirds across multiple states.

Over the past month, wildlife experts have been reporting “an unusual amount of bird mortality,” NBC News reported.

Dear Audubon friends, We’ve received a number of inquiries about the disease that’s causing neurological problems,...

Posted by Audubon Society of Western Pennsylvania on Thursday, July 1, 2021

Some of the symptoms are crusty or puffy eyes, neurological signs of seizures and an inability to stand balanced.

The birds also are acting as if they are blind and not flying away when people approach.

The society said that it is important that when it is safe to put the feeders back up, its vital that they are cleaned often. You should:

  • Clean feeders at least weekly to help to keep birds healthy.
  • Feeders may be disinfected with a bleach solution (1/2 cup of bleach per gallon of water).
  • First, clean your feeder with soap and water. Then soak the feeder in the bleach solution for 15-20 minutes.
  • Completely rinse and dry the feeder before refilling it.