Kentucky Fish & Wildlife Issues Warning After 'Unexplained' Bird Deaths in Kenton and Boone County

Kentucky Fish & Wildlife is warning residents not to feed the birds, and to immediately disinfect feeders and baths.

click to enlarge Birds in Northern Kentucky are dying from an unexplained illness, with symptoms including "eye swelling and crusty discharge, as well as neurological signs." - Photo: Provided by Ginger Rood // Kentucky Department of Fish & Wildlife Resources
Photo: Provided by Ginger Rood // Kentucky Department of Fish & Wildlife Resources
Birds in Northern Kentucky are dying from an unexplained illness, with symptoms including "eye swelling and crusty discharge, as well as neurological signs."

Birds are dying from an unexplained illness in several Kentucky counties.

The Kentucky Department of Fish & Wildlife Resources is reporting Blue Jays, Common Grackles and European Starlings in Northern Kentucky's Kenton and Boone counties and Louisville's Jefferson County have been getting sick or dying since late May.

Symptoms of the unknown illness include "eye swelling and crusty discharge, as well as neurological signs." Other bird species may be affected beyond those three.

Wildlife agencies in Indiana, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, Washington, D.C. and Ohio have also received similar reports.

"No definitive cause of death has been identified at this time," says the Kentucky Department of Fish & Wildlife Resources. But they are asking the public to report all instances of sick or dead birds online at research.net.

They are also warning people in Jefferson, Kenton and Boone counties to:

  • Cease feeding birds immediately and until further notice; 
  • Clean bird baths and feeders with a 10% bleach solution immediately and then weekly after that;
  • Avoid touching or handling birds, donning disposable gloves if it's unavoidable;
  • And to keep pets away from sick or dead birds.

Kentucky is shipping affected bird bodies to the Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study at the University of Georgia for diagnostics. 

If you report a sick or dead bird, they ask you provide your email address or phone number for additional follow-up.

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