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Mystery Bird Illness

The FWC is aware of a mystery bird disease that is affecting songbirds in the mid-Atlantic and midwestern states. Scientific knowledge about this issue is currently limited and the cause is unknown. Affected birds develop crusting around the eyes and neurologic signs such as tremors and paralysis. The conservation of Florida’s native birds is a high priority to the FWC. Agency staff are committed to working with partners such as the National Wildlife Health Center and the Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study to understand how this illness might affect Florida’s bird species. FWC staff are monitoring for wild bird illness in Florida. This page will be updated as new information becomes available.

Please report sick or dead birds to the FWC. For further assistance with sick birds, please contact a licensed wildlife rehabilitator near you.


People can also help by following the recommended tips from U.S. Geological Survey’s National Wildlife Health Center:

  • Temporarily take down birdfeeders until more is known about the cause and spread of the disease.
  • Clean feeders and bird baths with a 10% bleach solution (one part bleach mixed with nine parts water), rinse with water and allow to air dry.
  • Avoid handling sick or dead birds unless necessary. If you do handle them wear disposable gloves. If picking up a dead bird, place an inverted plastic bag over your hand to avoid direct contact with the bird. Bird carcasses may be disposed of by double-bagging and placing in household trash.
  • Keep pets (including pet birds) away from sick or dead wild birds as a standard precaution.

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