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Ohio Department of Natural Resources Investigating Mysterious Bird Disease

Ohio Department of Natural Resources
The ODNR has sent dead bird specimens to labs in Indiana and Pennsylvania.

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources is working to identify a mysterious illness which is affecting birds in the eastern United States.

The department started investigating last month after residents reported finding dead birds in their yards: mostly songbirds such as robins, sparrows, and Blue Jays.

Brian Plasters is with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, and says specimens have been sent for study to labs in Georgia, Pennsylvania, and Indiana. It’s too soon to know what the illness is. His department is advising people to just stop feeding birds, since food is plentiful during the summer.

“Take down your bird feeders and even stop feeding on the ground. And then clean your feeders and your bird bath with a 10 percent bleach solution and allow it to air dry.”

Plasters says it’s also too soon to know exactly how the disease is being transmitted, or if it can be spread to humans and other pets.

Information on how to report sick or dead birds is available here.

Kabir Bhatia is a senior reporter for Ideastream Public Media's arts & culture team.