Sick and dying birds have been reported in the mid-Atlantic region of the United States, and Colorado Parks and Wildlife is watching for any signs of similar concerns in Colorado.
So far, no cases compatible with this “mystery disease” have been confirmed in the state, CPW officials reported in a press release.
The syndrome observed in other states is characterized by swollen eyes, blindness and signs of neurologic impairment. Birds most commonly affected have been young blue jays, grackles, European starlings and American robins. The cause of the disease remains unknown.
CPW asks residents to notify their nearest Colorado Parks and Wildlife office if they see birds with swollen eyes, birds that appear sick or act abnormal, or if three or more dead birds are seen in one location within a two-week period.
In Colorado, house finches can be infected by bacteria (Mycoplasma gallisepticum) that cause swollen, crusty eyes, but this finch conjunctivitis disease has not been seen in other species. Finch conjunctivitis and other bird diseases are often spread at bird feeders.
CPW advises to clean bird feeders and bird baths regularly by removing all debris, cleaning with a 10 percent bleach solution, rinsing with water and allowing them to air dry completely before refilling. Take down feeders if you notice sick or dying birds.
CPW recommends that anyone who lives in bear country should not use bird feeders at all from mid-March through Thanksgiving.
To contact the Salida office of CPW call 719-530-5520.