Mysterious deadly bird-blinding illness appears in Ohio

A mysterious illness that blinds birds before eventually killing them has now turned up in Ohio after being initially discovered in the Washington, D.C. area. The Ohio Wildlife Center in Columbus told ThisWeek Community News that none of the birds it has taken in with the symptoms of this illness, which include crusty eyes, have survived. The U.S. Geological Survey reported June 9 on its website that it was investigating reports of sick and dying birds in Maryland, Virginia, Washington, D.C. and West Virginia starting in late May. The birds had eye swelling and crusty discharge, as well as neurological problems. So far blue jays (Cyanocitta cristata), starlings (Sturnus vulgaris), robins (Turdus migratorius) and grackles and other species have been impacted as well. The USGS has recommended people take down bird feeders in effected areas. The agency is also working with the Ohio Division of Wildlife.

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Header Image: A bird in the Washington, D.C. metro region with swollen eyes and crusty discharge.
Credit: Leslie Frattaroli, NPS