Birds in West Virginia (in a number of states) dying from unknown disease

The West Virginia Division of Natural Resources (WVDNR) updated its investigation of diseased birds found in recent months in the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia and surrounding states…

In late May and early June, WVDNR received initial reports of sick or dead birds in the Eastern Panhandle. Approximately 15-20 percent of the reports related to lesions of the birds’ eyes common to the regional event. Mortality events have typically involved one to four birds at a given location. Reports of sick and dead birds have decreased in West Virginia and surrounding states since late July…

While the cause of this avian mortality event is yet to be determined, birds that congregate at feeders and baths can transmit avian diseases to one another. As such, the WVDNR is continuing to recommend that West Virginia residents do the following:

Stop feeding birds in Berkeley and Jefferson Counties until this wildlife morbidity/mortality event subsides.

Clean feeders and bird baths with hot, soapy water and sterilize in 10 percent bleach solution (one part bleach mixed with nine parts water), rinse with water and allow to air dry.

Avoid handling birds, but wear disposable gloves if handling is necessary.

Keep pets away from sick or dead wild birds as a standard precaution…

Reports like this are current in several states. If you hear of this in your patch of birdwatching, wild bird feeding, please follow the instructions above about cleaning and sterilizing your bird feeders.

Maybe you should just go ahead and do this, anyway.