Indiana DNR continues to urge people to put away bird feeders due to songbird disease

NOW: Indiana DNR continues to urge people to put away bird feeders due to songbird disease

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SOUTH BEND, Ind.--- The Indiana Department of Natural Resources continues to urge people to put away birdbaths and bird feeders due to a songbird disease. The disease damages the neurological system in birds with the visible symptoms of crusty eyes or a discharge around the eyes. 

Wildlife experts are still determining how the disease spreads and where it originated. They are asking that people refrain from doing things that would encourage birds to congregate and risk potentially spreading the disease.

"They need to socially distance just like we did with COVID," said Allysin Gillet, an ornithologist with the Indiana DNR. "We want to give them that opportunity and prevent any sort of possible transmission."

Some experts worry the disease is will have an even bigger impact on the songbird population which has drastically decreased since 1970.

"It’s very troubling we have lost about 3 billion songbirds in the past 50 years per the songbird experts at Cornell Univesity," said Garry Harrington, Director of the Rum Village Nature Center. "Even though people are hesitant to do so I strongly urge that they do that until we find out whatever it is that’s causing the bird’s numbers to be reduced."

Hoosiers are also asked to clean their birdbaths and feeders with a 10% bleach solution. They also ask that you reach out to the DNR if you come across a bird you believe is infected.

Click here for the DNR's reporting website.

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