Bird feeding can resume in 76 counties as songbird illness investigation continues, DNR says


A blue jay is seen on a feeder (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

INDIANAPOLIS– The Indiana Department of Natural Resources (DNR) announced Monday that Hoosiers in 76 counties can resume feeding birds.

While the investigation continues into the deaths of songbirds, residents in the following counties are asked to keep their feeders down: Allen, Carroll, Clark, Floyd, Hamilton, Hancock, Hendricks, Johnson, Lake, Marion, Monroe, Morgan, Porter, St. Joseph, Tippecanoe and Whitley.

If you do not reside in one of those counties, you are free to resume feeding birds.

On June 25, DNR recommended a statewide moratorium on bird feeding through June 25 to help slow the spread of an illness that is killing birds across the state. The actual illness is still undetermined, DNR said.

DNR biologists believe there to be more than 500 cases in 72 counties that involve a very specific set of clinical signs (crusty eyes, eye discharge, and/or neurological issues). Hoosiers have submitted more than 3,400 reports of sick or dead birds.

DNR believes the illness is affecting specific areas. There is no imminent threat to people, the population of specific bird species, or to the overall population of birds in Indiana.

For those resuming the feeding of birds, DNR recommends cleaning feeders at least once every two weeks by scrubbing them with soap and water, followed by a short soak in a 10% bleach solution. Feeders should then be rinsed and dried before filled with seed.

Hummingbird feeders should be thoroughly rinsed and dried before being filled. At least once a week, they should also be cleaned with 10% bleach solution and rinsed.

If you see a sick or dead bird with the above symptoms, report it here.

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