Wildlife agencies in a half-dozen states including Kentucky have received reports of sick and dying birds.
It’s unclear what’s causing the deaths, but the birds appear with symptoms that include eye swelling, crusty discharge and neurological problems.
Kentucky’s Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources has received reports of sick and dying birds in Jefferson, Kenton and Boone counties. Affected species so far include blue jays, common grackles and European starlings.
The department is now asking residents in Jefferson, Boone and Kenton counties to stop feeding birds until further notice. Bird feeders and baths are common places for birds to congregate and can increase disease transmission.
Kentucky Fish and Wildlife has already sent more than 20 samples to a lab in Georgia for further testing. The public can file a report and read more about the bird deaths at this website.
Residents across the state should clean their feeders with a 10% bleach solution immediately, and once a week or so thereafter. They should also avoid handling wild birds and keep pets away from any sick or dying ones.
Wildlife agencies have also identified outbreaks in Indiana, West Virginia, Maryland, Ohio, Virginia and Washington D.C.
The outbreak appears to be distinct from the salmonella event that occurred earlier this year.
Kentucky Fish and Wildlife plans to update the public when more information is available.