June 25, 2021 (updated 9/1/2021)
Indiana Audubon is urging it’s members and bird enthusiasts to assist with the DNR’s guidelines regarding the current unknown bird illness that is affecting birds statewide. To date there are an estimated 500 valid reports of this condition in birds in 72 counties around the state.
Current guidance is to recommend that Hoosiers living in a hotspot zone county remove all bird feeders and baths, including hummingbird feeders. The 13 affected counties include Allen, Hamilton, Hendricks, Johnson, Lake, Marion, Monroe, Porter, and St. Joseph. Additionally, if you see a sick or dying bird, please remove your feeders and report it directly to the DNR (guidance as of 9/1/2021).
The DNR recommends that other counties may put their feeders and baths out again, if they feel comfortable doing so and observe no sick or dying birds. Seed and suet feeders should be cleaned at least once every two weeks by scrubbing feeders with soap and water and soaking in a 10% bleach solution. Hummingbird feeders should be cleaned at least once a week with a 10% bleach solution and rinsed thoroughly.
Though many species of songbirds are being affected, corvids, such as blue jays and grackles seem to be the most prevalent reported species. Other species have included American Robin, Northern Cardinal, and European Starling. Symptoms include eye swelling, crusty eye and blindness, as well as neurological disorders, including defaulting standing or using muscles.
Individuals should keep themselves and their pets away from sick or dead birds as a precaution as we learn more about this illness. You can report sick or dead birds showing the above symptoms through the DNR’s wildlife Reporting Tool. Licensed wildlife rehabbers can be found on the Indiana Audubon Sick and Injured Bird Page.
Learn more about Indiana Audubon and our mission by becoming a member at IndianaAudubon.org/membership.