Remove bird feeders due to “mysterious illness” in Massachusetts


Advisory: Report Dead Birds and Remove Feeders

(WWLP) – Massachusetts Division of Fisheries & Wildlife is asking residents to take down bird feeders and bird baths after a mysterious illness is killing songbirds in the mid-Atlantic.

According to MassWildlife, the disease is not known to be in New England as of Wednesday.

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
  • Stop feeding birds and using birdbaths until the mortality event has concluded.
  • 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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