Many of you have heard or read about a mysterious illness that is afflicting birds in some mid-Atlantic and Midwest states primarily Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Kentucky, Ohio, the District of Columbia and New Jersey. At this time, there are no documented cases of the illness in states north of New Jersey.
It is not yet known if this illness is contagious and spreading through congregation or caused by something in the environment. Symptoms of this illness include swollen and crusty eyes, balance issues, muscle spasms and paralysis. The illness has been observed mostly in fledgling (juvenile) Common Grackles, Blue Jays, American Robins and European Starlings.
It goes on to suggest that we clean our feeders and bird baths weekly.
The message is all rather confusing, but Jim and I have stopped feeding the birds. Since we are not willing to clean our feeders every week, we must comply. It breaks our heart to hear or bird friends call out to us as they circle our empty feeders. And what will our hawk will do next time he comes scouting about to see what’s available? We believe that the feeder attracts him, as well as the squirrels and chipmunks, which seem to be his preference.
We feel for our birds and for the owners of our local Wild Birds Unlimited, who have been serving bird lovers for close to 20 years.