Warning About Sick And Dying Birds


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The Verona Environmental Commission (VEC) is drawing residents’ attention to a state warning about a rise in songbird illnesses and deaths, in New Jersey and other mid-Atlantic states.

The warning was posted by the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife, which said that, since mid-May, many young birds have been found with eye and neurological issues, and a large number have been found dead. The problems have mostly affected blue jays, starlings and common grackles, as well as robins and cardinals. The state agency cautioned that, while there are many theories as to why the problems are happening, it has not yet determined a cause.

“Some (but not all) of the affected birds are showing neurologic signs consisting of head tremors, leg paresis (partial paralysis or weakness), ataxia (falling to the side) or inability to stand at all, and excessive vocalizations,” the agency said in a Facebook post. “Also, most of the birds are in good body condition—likely still being fed by their parents.”

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If you see birds with any of these symptoms or find dead birds on your property, the agency asks that you contact Dr. Nicole Lewis, its wildlife veterinarian, at [email protected] or call 877-WARN-DEP to arrange for pick-up of the birds and for any additional instructions. Dead birds should be handled with gloves, double-bagged and kept cool until picked up. If you find sick or dead birds on your property, the agency is also asking that you clean and remove your bird baths or feeders.

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