Bird Feeder Update: Remove hummingbird feeders now included in advisory

Massachusetts

CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – Massachusetts Division of Fisheries & Wildlife has updated the their advisory to include removing hummingbird feeders after a mysterious illness is killing songbirds in the mid-Atlantic.

The original advisory posted on MassWildlife’s website Wednesday stated it was okay to leave hummingbird feeders up. As of Friday, the hummingbird feeder information has been removed.

According to MassWildlife, the disease is not known to be in New England. As a precaution, the advisory is urging residents to report observations of dead birds and to stop using bird feeders. Birds gather at bird feeders and bird baths and can transmit diseases that way to one another.

Since late May, the affected songbirds are showing neurological signs of illness, as well as eye swelling and crusty discharge reported by wildlife managers in the following states:

  • Washington D.C.
  • Maryland
  • Virginia
  • West Virginia
  • Kentucky
  • Delaware
  • New Jersey
  • Pennsylvania
  • Ohio
  • Indiana

The reports include a majority of affected birds are fledgling common grackles, blue jays, European starlings, and American robins, as well as other species of songbirds.

MassWildlife is recommending the following steps statewide:

  • Email MassWildlife reports with your location, number and species of birds, symptoms observed, and any photos at mass.wildlife@mass.gov.
  • Stop feeding birds and using birdbaths until the advisory has ended.
  • Clean feeders and baths with a 10% bleach solution.
  • Avoid handling birds. If you need to handle birds, wear disposable gloves.
  • When removing dead birds, wear disposable gloves and place birds and gloves in a sealable plastic bag to dispose with household trash.
  • Keep pets away from sick or dead birds as a precaution.

No definitive cause(s) of illness or death have been determined at this time. 

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