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Alert Details

Songbird Mortality Event

Songbird Mortality Event

Nestling and fledgling songbirds – mainly blue jays, starlings, and common grackles, but also robins and cardinals – have been found with ocular and neurologic issues, and in some cases these birds have been found dead in large numbers. Cases have been reported from TN, KY, VA, WV, MD, DE, IN, OH, FL, and recently from PA (see update below).

The Pennsylvania Game Commission is recommending that people cease feeding birds until this event is resolved. There is no official moratorium.

UPDATE July 26, 202: The Wildlife Futures Program’s (WFP) web portal, hosting the Songbird Mortality Report Form, will remain open through at least August 15th. The number of new reports has waned over the past week.  Fewer than twenty percent of the 2,982 reports submitted from Pennsylvania through the web portal between July 1, 2021, through July 22, 2021, have been identified as being POTENTIALLY related to the songbird “mystery illness.” Poor condition of affected birds due to heat degradation, insect damage (maggots), and secondary predation has limited the number of usable specimens for analysis.

A total of 30 songbirds, representing submissions from all six Pennsylvania Game Commission regions, have been sent to the Pennsylvania Animal Diagnostic Laboratory System for full diagnostics. Tests for avian influenza, West Nile Virus, and Newcastle Disease Virus have all been negative. Other results are still pending. The WFP is partnering with other laboratories to accelerate the investigation and broaden the scope of diagnostic testing. To date, the cause of the songbird mortality event remains unknown.

What You Can Do • Report occurrences online: https://www.vet.upenn.edu/research/centers-laboratories/research-initiatives/wildlife-futures-program • 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

Read the news release.

Closures: Ranges/Roads/Buildings

Lancaster/Lebanon Counties: The Middle Creek Visitors Center is closed for building renovations. The center will reopen once major renovations are completed. The closure applies to the Visitors Center only; public access areas and trails remain open for public use and recreation.

Clinton County: Bridge construction on SGL 89, Hazard Road approximately 2 miles south from the northern gate (Haneyville end) near Stavers Run. Until the bridge is finished, through traffic will not be an option.