SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV)– Enjoying the chirps of your favorite songbirds from your own bird feeder may have to be put on pause as a deadly infectious eye disorder is inching closer to home.
“This particular disease is unique in that it’s impacting a lot of different species and happening pretty quickly,” Alison Kocek, Vice President of the Onondaga Audubon Society said.
Scientists think the disease originated in Washington, D.C. a few months ago and could impact any songbird you normally see in your backyard.
“It’s really not super clear as to how this disease came about. We still don’t know if it’s a bacteria, is this a virus, is this a fungus we have no idea,” Kocek said.
The disease has the potential to spread throughout the entire country and some signs include birds having trouble moving, being unable to fly, or falling over.
The Onondaga Audubon Society is urging people to take down their bird feeders and birdbaths to prevent the disease from coming to Central New York.
Kocek said by taking down your feeders it eliminates the potential for the disease to get on the feeder and spread to other birds. However, hummingbird feeders and birdhouses can still stay up for now as long as you regularly clean them.
Kocek said now is the perfect time of year to take down the bird feeders because there is an abundance of natural food for the birds to eat like flowers, berries, and insects.
If you see a bird you think has been infected, Kocek encourages you to contact the Department of Environmental Conservation immediately, take a picture if you feel comfortable, and keep the bird away from any household pets.
The Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine also released a joint statement on the disease, you can read the full statement here.