Songbird sickness cases appear to be tapering off. Audubon Community Nature Center Executive Director Leigh Rovegno sent a communication saying the Cornell’s Lab of Ornithology and its Wildlife Health Lab recently issued a statement saying reported cases of affected birds are tapering off in surrounding states.
Songbirds were found in nearby states with crusty eyes, seizures, and paralysis in recent months, with some birds dying.
Cornell said various testing over the course of weeks didn’t find anything infectious and with cases declining so suddenly, it is unlikely it was an infectious disease outbreak.
Researchers now believe that the ingestion of cicadas could have had toxic effects on the birds. It is possible that individuals sprayed the cicadas with pesticides, which have chemicals that affect the brains of birds and could have caused the neurological symptoms. Cicadas also carry fungi that can produce toxins when ingested which could have also produced the illness in the birds.
Songbird populations have remained stable through the event.
Rovegno said based on this information, the ACNC is letting residents know that it’s okay to bring back bird feeders and bird baths. The ACNC does recommend feeders be cleaned with a 10% bleach solution on a weekly or monthly basis.