In late May of this year songbirds were turning up sick and dying in Monroe County, Indiana, home of Indiana University. Birds were found with swollen and crusty eyes and neurological issues. Affected birds have also been found is several other counties, though not in ours. Species mostly affected are the blue jay, American robin, common grackle, starling, northern cardinal and brown-headed cowbird. We have seen all of these birds regularly at our backyard feeders.
On Friday May 25, 2021 the Indiana DNR issued the following for residents in all Indiana counties: So far testing has only confirmed that the dead birds have not succumbed to avian influenza and West Nile virus. Stop feeding birds until the mortality event has concluded. Clean feeders and baths with a 10% bleach solution. Avoid handling birds. If you need to handle birds, wear disposable gloves.
Further updates may be found at this DNR website.
Our feeders are now empty. Tomorrow we’ll take them down and sanitize them. At least the past year has taught us how to sanitize! Sad that now our birds are in a way on their own lockdown.