Saturday, July 3, 2021

PA State Game Commission Investigating Mysterious Bird Deaths


The Pennsylvania State Game Commission is investigating several mysterious deaths in birds across Pennsylvania including in Schuylkill County.

The Commission says Wildlife health experts from the Wildlife Futures Program (WFP) at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Veterinary Medicine (Penn Vet) and officials from the Pennsylvania Game Commission are investigating more than 70 general public reports of songbirds that are sick or dying due to an emerging health condition that is presently unknown.

As of July 1, 2021, reports from the public chronicle both adult and young birds exhibiting signs of the condition. The most common clinical symptoms include discharge and/or crusting around the eyes, eye lesions, and/or neurologic signs such as falling over or head tremors.

Affected birds are being tested for several toxins, parasites, bacterial diseases, and viral infections. To date, test results have been inconclusive.

Twelve species have been reported: Blue Jay, European Starling, Common Grackle, American Robin, Northern Cardinal, House Finch, House Sparrow, Eastern Bluebird, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Carolina Chickadee, and Carolina Wren.

The reports have come from 27 Counties in Pennsylvania that include Schuylkill, Philadelphia, and Bucks, Montgomery, Chester,Cumberland, Dauphin, Franklin, Lancaster, Lebanon, Perry, Schuylkill, and York.

The incidents are not are not Pennsylvania though. Numerous reports have also been received across the United States including the Mid-Atlantic region, extending into the Southeast and eastern upper Midwest. Affected birds were first reported in and around Washington, D.C.

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