Mysteriously, an unusual number of blind birds are dying in and around Washington, DC, according to authorities.
It remains unclear what is causing the birds to go blind and also no authority has clue of what’s the reason behind the deaths of these birds.
According to the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources, the majority of reports about the issue have come from Arlington, but they have also received notices from Maryland and the city of Winchester in the Shenandoah Valley.
As per online speculation, the problem could be caused by cicadas that have been sprayed with pesticides and are then eaten by the birds. S0me internet users are even going to an extent to say that 5G towers could be behind the cause.
Authorities have released statement on the blind and dying birds
The Fairfax County Animal Protection Police and Wildlife Management Office have received an increased number of reports for sick and dead birds throughout Fairfax County. Other agencies and localities across the region and state are reporting similar issues.
Many of the reports have included common grackles and blue jays, but other species have been documented within Fairfax County as well. Most of the affected birds appear to be juveniles. Symptoms have included neurological impairment, weakness, and eye infections (discharge, crusting, and swelling of the eyes). Many other birds have been reported after being found dead.
The Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources is actively investigating this issue and has worked with local cooperators, including our Department, local veterinarians, and wildlife rehabilitators, to submit samples of deceased birds to a wildlife health diagnostic lab for examination. We are awaiting these diagnostic results that will hopefully shed more light on the current situation.
If you find a sick or injured bird on your property, please contact the Animal Protection Police through the police non-emergency number at 703-691-2131.
We are asking residents that find dead birds on their property to dispose of the birds promptly using the following guidance:
- Wear gloves and avoid direct contact with the birds.
- Invert a bag over your hand, pick up the bird, and then pull the bag over the bird, tying with a knot at the top.
- Place this bag in a second bag (double bag) and seal for disposal.
- Dispose of the bird in a trash receptacle outside of the home.
- Trash receptacles should be secured so that children, pets and wild animals do not have access to them.
- Wash hands thoroughly after disposal.
We know that these incidents are alarming, and we share your concern for the health and welfare of our bird communities in Fairfax County and across the region. We appreciate your patience and understanding as we work with the state wildlife agency to better understand and address the issue. We will keep the public updated as we learn more from the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources investigation.
Animal Welfare League of Arlington has also wrote about it, read below:
Beginning on Tuesday, May 18th, 2021, the Animal Welfare League of Arlington (AWLA) began receiving an increase in the number of calls regarding sick/injured juvenile birds, specifically Grackles and Blue Jays. Eye issues were reported in what otherwise looked like healthy juvenile birds, causing blindness and the birds to land and stay on the ground. Animal Control is now seeing additional species of birds affected. Other agencies and localities across the region and state are reporting similar issues at this time.
The Animal Control team promptly reached out to the regional biologist with the VA Department of Wildlife Resources, DWR (formerly the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, DGIF), and has coordinated testing on a selection of these deceased birds through the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources. We await any results that may shed more light on the current situation.
At this time we are asking members of the public to dispose of these birds promptly when found on their property. Please remember when disposing of these birds:
- Wear hand covering (such as gloves) and avoid direct contact with the birds.
- Consider picking up the birds using the same method you would for pet waste.
- Invert a bag over your hand, pick up the bird, and then pull the bag over the bird, tying with a knot at the top before disposal.
- Dispose of in waste receptacle outside of the home.
- Ensure to use diligent hand washing after disposal.
- Report deceased birds here.
If a resident finds injured or deceased birds on public playgrounds, parks, and fields, please call Arlington County Animal Control promptly at 703-931-9241. We appreciate your patience and understanding as we work with State Agencies to better understand and address this issue.