BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — Massachusetts State wildlife officials are warning that the state's songbirds might need to do some social distancing of their own. The Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife said on Wednesday that an unidentified illness is sweeping the nation's birds along the east coast.
Reports of the sickness — which causes the birds to have swollen eyes, crusty discharge, neurological symptoms, and sometimes die — began in late May around Washington, D.C., West Virginia and Kentucky. Calling it a "mystery disease," MassWildlife said the illness had been progressively spreading north and west, but has not yet been spotted in New England.
Birds like grackles, blue jays, and robins made up the majority of cases, but other songbirds have also been affected.
In response, the agency told residents to take down their birdfeeders to prevent the birds from gathering and to report any birds that seem to have died from an unknown cause.
MassWildlife also said to keep pets away from sick or dead wild birds, and to avoid contact with the animals.
Written by Chaiel Schaffel