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Wisconsin DNR ‘monitoring’ mystery bird illness

Solar Scorched Birds
This October 2013 photo provided by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service shows a burned Yellow-rumped Warbler that was found at the Ivanpah solar plant in the California Mojave Desert. Workers at a state-of-the-art new solar plant have a word for the birds that fly over the plant’s five-mile field of mirrors, “streamers,” for the puff of smoke as the birds ignite in mid-air and fall singed to the ground. (AP Photo/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service) Uncredited

Wisconsin DNR ‘monitoring’ mystery bird illness

July 06, 02:00 PM July 06, 02:01 PM

The state of Wisconsin wants people to report any dead birds they find in their lawn or on their property.

Wisconsin’s Department of Natural Resources says it is keeping an eye on a mystery illness that is killing songbirds from the east coast to the Midwest.

“We have been monitoring this since reports first started occurring out East in late May, and more recent reports have been received from other states, including Virginia, West Virginia, Kentucky, Ohio and Indiana,” the DNR said in a statement.

There are only a few reports of sick or dead birds in Wisconsin. But the illness is a growing problem in other states. Indiana, for example, has seen an outbreak in recent weeks. That state’s Department of Natural Resources says they’ve found sick and dead birds in 50 of Indiana’s 92 counties.

The mystery illness most affects blue jays, common grackles, European starlings, robins, Northern cardinals, brown-headed cowbirds and other perching birds. The symptoms include a crusty eyes, a swollen head, and shaking or an inability to stand.

DNR is asking anyone in Wisconsin who sees birds with those symptoms, or find dead bird carcasses to let them know.

“If you observe birds with neurological signs such as seizures and incoordination, please contact your regional ecologist or local wildlife biologist. Freshly dead carcasses of birds exhibiting these signs are of interest,” DNR said in its statement.

No one knows just what is making the birds sick. The DNR says wildlife experts and scientists are looking for a cause.

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