The Indiana Department of Natural Resources is investigating reports of sick and dying songbirds in five Indiana counties.
The agency said several species of songbirds in Monroe, Clark, Jefferson, LaGrange and Lake counties showed neurological signs of illness, eye swelling and crusty discharge.
“Several species are being affected, including blue jay, American robin, common grackle, Northern cardinal, European starling and several others,” said DNR ornithologist Allisyn-Marie Gillet.
Gillet said several samples have been sent to the Indiana Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory in West Lafayette. All have tested negative for avian influenza and West Nile virus, but final lab diagnostic results are pending.
Wildlife biologists in Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, Virginia, Maryland and West Virginia and Washington, D.C. have documented similar cases, according to the Kentucky Department of Fish & Wildlife Resources.
DNR said people who find sick or dead wild birds on their property should stop feeding birds until the illness stops and use the agency’s wildlife reporting tool to report the animals.
The agency said people should avoid handling dead birds unless they are wearing disposable gloves. The bird should be placed in a sealable plastic bag and disposed of with household trash while being kept away from pets.
DNR said bird feeders and baths should be cleaned with a 10% bleach solution.