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We sure hope mysterious bird disease is not something more

We are alarmed — as all of us should be — about the mysterious deaths of our beloved birds.

Over the past six weeks, thousands of birds across multiple states in the Northeast have been spotted with eye and brain problems.

Did you ever hear the story about the canary in the coal mine?

You know, where miners digging coal underground used canaries as an early-warning sign that deadly carbon monoxide was filling their mines?

Well, is this such a story?

Are we faced with a disease that could spread to … well, beyond birds to us humans?

After COVID-19, nothing would surprise us.

The Pennsylvania Game Commission is recommending that people remove their bird feeders and baths until it can figure out the root cause of a disease that is plaguing the songbird population.

Some of the most affected are blue jays, starlings and common grackles, but also robins and cardinals, the commission said.

In the nation’s capital, observers said birds are showing signs of brain illness or crusted eyes.

Virginia officials said that over 1,400 birds had gotten sick since late May.

All are collecting samples.

We’re not quite yet convinced people should stop feeding birds.

That said, we are NOT experts … by any means.

But like the experts, we ask that you pay close attention to our feathered friends at your feeder and birdbath.

Here are some recommendations we found on www.alleghenyfront.org:

5 Cease feeding birds and providing water in birdbaths until this wildlife mortality event has concluded to prevent potential spread between birds and to other wildlife.

5 Clean feeders and birdbaths with a 10% bleach solution.

5 Avoid handling dead or injured wild birds. Wear disposable gloves if it’s necessary to handle a bird.

5 Keep pets away from sick or dead birds as a standard precaution.

To dispose of dead birds, place them in a sealable plastic bag and discard them with household trash. This will prevent disease transmission to other birds and wildlife.

Finally, here is the address of a website you can access to download a bird mortality reporting form:

http://www.vet.upenn.edu/research/centers-laboratories/research-initiatives/wildlife-futures-program

Together, let’s take care of our winged friends … and ourselves.

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