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  • Sharon Fisher

Important Information About Bird Disease

Local wildlife rehabilitators are reporting multiple cases of a yet-to-be-diagnosed disease in birds. Affected birds are most commonly Blue Jay, European Starling, and Common Grackle fledgling.

Photo: Belinda Burwell, DVM


Note that fledglings (baby birds) are meant to be on the ground before they are fully flighted. If a young bird can hop around, walk, and perch normally. Please leave it on the ground.


Ill birds most commonly appear with their eyes are often shut, sometimes enlarged or showing discharge or reddening. Some affected birds have neurological signs showing odd head movements or are uncoordinated and stumbling or rolling. If you see a diseased bird, contact a wildlife rehabilitator: (1) Blueridge Wildlife Center - https://www.blueridgewildlifectr.org (2) Wildlife Veterinary Care https://www.wildlifeveterinarycare.org


The recommended actions are:

  • Cease feeding birds until this wildlife mortality event has concluded;

  • Clean feeders and bird baths with a 10% bleach solution;

  • Avoid handling birds, but wear disposable gloves if handling is necessary;

  • Keep pets away from sick or dead birds as a standard precaution; and

  • Report the sighting to the State Department of Wildlife Resources: https://dwr.virginia.gov/wildlife/diseases/bird-mortality-reporting-form/


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