Should We Take Down Our Michigan Bird Feeders?

It started as a slight warning. Both Washington State and Michigan DNR asked to watch for an unusual die-off of wild songbirds. Now it has snowballed onto a multi-state request to ask birdwatchers across the east coast and Great Lakes region to stop feeding the wild birds that we enjoy welcoming every summer season at our Michigan bird feeders.

Michigan is surrounded by States Asking Residents to Stop Feeding Birds Due to Neurological Issues.

Michigan Bird Feeders

The Natual Resource Departments of the Mid-Atlantic States, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Indiana have asked residents to suspend bid feeding this summer. For now.

The New York Buffalo Audubon Society has been receiving calls from residents querying about the die-off of birds in these states. The Society has been observing the deaths, which are happening most in starlings, grackles, blue jays, and robins.

The Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources encourages homeowners to take down bird feeders and birdbaths as officials struggle to solve the mystery of infected and dying birds.

Symptoms are Evident

Dead Bird - Michigan bird Feeders

A media spokesperson with the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife said the state began receiving calls about “sick and dying birds. They had with eye swelling and crusty discharge” in late early summer. The birds behave as if they’re blind before dying.

In Indiana, infected birds, which have been found in 15 counties, showed eye swelling. In addition, there is crusty discharge and neurological signs of illness. WKBW out of New York reports that Tom Kerr of the Buffalo Audubon Society says not to worry about birds getting enough food this summer. “The Audubon Society is advising that we take down our bird feeders until we find out what is causing this or it ends,” Kerr said. “They’ll come to your bird feeder as a supplementary food supply, but most birds are eating bugs this time of year.”

So far, no reported cases of the illness have been reported in Michigan. However, reports from the Indiana border towns of St. Joseph, Elkhart, and LaPorte, place it within the realm of affecting Michigan bird feeders soon.

If you have to dispose of a dead bird, officials said to place the bird into a sealed plastic bag and dispose of it in a secured outdoor trash can. Wash hands and any other surface to prevent reinfection.

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3 thoughts on “Should We Take Down Our Michigan Bird Feeders?”

  1. I live in Michigan and I’ve seen two birds that have had eyes that are crusted shut. Are we sure it’s not the food that is causing this?

  2. I live in Michigan too (Rockford). Today I found two birds in my yard that we’re acting sick and had crusty eyes. Should we be taking down all our feeders and emptying out birdbaths? I can’t find any updates regarding this situation on the Michigan DNR website.


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