Letter to Editor - Helping feathered friends

Geneseo Republic
A Read-bellied woodpecker j

I have been reading and calling about a mysterious bird disease reported in some states in the U.S..  Most of the affected birds were grackles, blue jays, starlings and robins.  Some woodpeckers have also been reported showing signs of the illness. 

Though local experts say the illness is not yet a concern in Illinois, officials are advising residents not to feed birds and report instances of dead birds.  

The sick and dying birds show eye swelling and a crunchy discharge.  People should notify a state biologist if they find a few dead birds in a close proximity. 

A list of state wildlife biologists can be found on the Illinois Department of Natural Resources website. 

Maybe if this is still a mystery and people are concerned, we should clean and store out feeders.  There's plenty of food out there for birds right now. 

It's always a good idea to ensure bird feeders and birdbaths are clean and maintained to help the keep the bird population healthy.  Clean bird feeders and birdbaths with a 10% bleach solution.  This will help sanitize where birds congregate and can help prevent the spread of disease. 

If it's spreading throughout the woodland in the wild, there is not much we can do to help. 

I will put my feeders to work when the weather gets a little colder. 

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Glen Anderson, Bird Nut of Henry County