Updated September 8, 2021
The Ohio Division of Wildlife is lifting its previous recommendation to stop feeding birds. However, caution and vigilance are always necessary to help prevent further spread of diseases at bird feeders.
- Reports of sick or dead birds possibly affected with the mysterious bird illness in Ohio have slowed considerably. A majority of birds reported with the illness were immature or fledgling birds, and the breeding season is now primarily over.
- There is still no diagnosis on the cause of the mysterious bird illness. Research is ongoing at multiple labs.
- Many other songbird diseases can be passed through feeding. It is important to keep feeders clean: use a 10% bleach solution (1 part bleach, 9 parts water), rinse, and let dry at least once a week. Take a break (7-10 days) from feeding if you see sick or dead birds. This prevents birds from congregating and passing transmissible diseases.
- Symptoms of diseases such as house finch eye disease and salmonellosis include reddish or crusty eyes, and neurological conditions such as poor balance and coordination.
- Further updates, if necessary, will be posted on this web page and the Ohio Division of Wildlife’s social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter).
Please be aware of these other diseases commonly seen in songbirds.
If You Find an Alive/Diseased Bird
If you observe sick birds with these symptoms and/or neurological issues (such as loss of balance, coordination) then please contact your nearest licensed wildlife rehabilitator.
If You Find a Dead/Diseased Bird
The Ohio Division of Wildlife appreciates reports of dead birds that exhibit symptoms such as crusty, bulging, or sunken eyes. Please submit a report online in our Wildlife Species Sighting reporting system to help biologists track the spread of the disease. When reporting, select Bird - Diseased or Dead.
You can also include photographs or videos with your report, as well as latitude and longitude coordinates to help wildlife biologists quickly verify the sighting. Remember to always view wildlife from a respectful distance for your safety as well as the safety of the animal.
To dispose of dead birds, place in a plastic bag, seal, and discard with household trash or alternatively bury them deeply.
Thank you for helping us to protect Ohio's wildlife!