Birds with mysterious avian disease found in 14 Northern Virginia localities

Officials received about 450 reports of birds with eye issues and/or neurological signs

Wildlife management officials respond to reports of sick birds dying

The Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources gave an update Tuesday regarding the mortality event affecting birds across multiple states.

Experts still do not have a definite explanation as to why these birds are dying, but they are asking people with bird baths to keep them clean to prevent the spread of disease.

Recommended Videos

Reports have now been received across nine states and Washington, D.C. about this disease. While the majority of affected birds are reported to be fledgling common grackles, blue jays, European starlings, and American robins, other species of songbirds have been reported as well.

[Wildlife officials warn of sick, dying birds in Virginia and surrounding states]

In Virginia, since May 23, DWR has received more than 1,400 reports of sick or dying birds from 14 localities located in Nothern Virginia. Of those reports, about 450 described eye issues and/or neurological signs.

Here’s a look at where the cases have been seen:

LocalitySick/Dead Birds Reported [5/23 - 6/30]
Fairfax County137-512
Loudoun County38-136
Frederick County24-37
Prince William County24-37
Clarke County1-23
City of Fairfax1-23
Fall Church1-23
Fauquier County1-23
Shenandoah County1-23
Clarke County1-23

Below is a map from DWR showing the number of reports by locality.

Map from Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources about where cases of sick/dying birds are being reported. (Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources)

DWR qualifies an area as being affected if more than 10 reports of sick or dead birds have been received within a 7-day period since May 23. The other way for an area to qualify is if more than three birds from the locality have been assessed by a licensed veterinarian to be exhibiting eye or neurological signs consistent with the case definition.

While DWR has received more than 1,400 reports of sick or dying birds in total from the affected areas, that number also includes instances where a bird may have died after being hit by a car or an illness unrelated to this current event.

Experts are working to determine what’s causing these birds to die.

So far, DWR reports that the following infectious agents have not been detected in any birds tested, based on results received to date: Salmonella and Chlamydia (bacterial pathogens); avian influenza virus, West Nile virus and other flaviviruses, Newcastle disease virus and other paramyxoviruses, herpesviruses and poxviruses; and Trichomonas parasites.

Recommended Videos