Hoosiers throughout the state can now resume feeding birds, the Indiana Department of Natural Resources recently announced.
DNR had recommended a statewide ban on bird feeding earlier this summer to slow the spread of a still-undetermined illness that is killing birds across the state. Biologists identified more than 750 possible cases in 76 counties that involved a specific set of clinical signs, including crusty eyes, eye discharge and neurological issues.
According to the DNR press release, residents throughout Indiana may again put out their feeders if they are comfortable doing so and are not observing sick or dead birds in their yards.
DNR also strongly encourages residents who do so to clean seed and suet feeders at least once every two weeks by scrubbing them with soap and water, followed by a short soak in a 10% bleach solution. Cleaning feeders helps keep birds healthy and helps prevent the spread of disease. Feeders should be thoroughly rinsed and dried before being filled with birdseed. Hummingbird feeders should be cleaned at least once a week with a 10% bleach solution and rinsed thoroughly.
The actions of many Hoosiers significantly helped the DNR’s work related to the disease outbreak. By taking down their feeders and submitting more than 4,300 reports, residents enabled DNR staff to track the disease, detect regional differences and provide updated recommendations for feeding birds.
In August, DNR announced that most Indiana counties could resume feeding birds after investigators narrowed the probe of the mysterious illness.
The illness has mostly affected blue jays, American robins, common grackles, European starlings and northern cardinals.
DNR biologists ask Hoosiers to continue reporting any sick or dead birds they find to on.IN.gov/sickwildlife. Reports help DNR staff continue to track this outbreak and identify new disease events and reoccurrences.
The USGS National Wildlife Health Center’s avian disease experts and other scientists are continuing their investigative work on the unidentified bird disease. Indiana DNR has provided samples to the laboratory to aid with its testing.