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Message from Lycoming Audubon Society Conservation Chair Gary Metzger:
Songbirds in the Mid-Atlantic, Southeast and upper Midwest regions of the country, including PA, have been dying at a significant rate from a cause or causes unknown.  Nestling and fledgling birds and perhaps adult birds as well have been presenting symptoms similar to the previously known conjunctivitis of the eyes in finches and/or neurological symptoms with the birds appearing dizzy, unbalanced, etc.  In the current instance these symptoms appear to be leading to the birds’ deaths.  There is sufficient concern among wildlife rehabilitators, academic/veterinary institutions, state wildlife agencies, etc. that recommendations have been made that we stop feeding birds and that we take down our bird baths and similar water features.  The thinking is that if this is some sort of communicable disease, then attracting birds to a given location increases the chances of spreading the infection.  The one exception to this recommendation is for hummingbird feeders.  Apparently no similar mortality has been documented thus far for hummingbirds, but it is advised that the feeders be kept exceptionally clean with fresh sugar water, perhaps changed out daily.  

We here at Lycoming Audubon are providing this information to give our members and friends information and advice in the hope that we can help limit the impact of this event on our already stressed bird populations until the biologists and laboratories can figure out what is causing this and give us further instruction.  We will pass along additional information as it becomes available. I have attached the text of Robyn Graboski’s latest email on this situation.  She has attached a recent article from National Public Radio with the latest info and recommendations.  That article contains two useful links.  One is to the Pennsylvania Game Commission website where you can find their recommendations.  The other link is to the Wildlife Futures Program (a partnership between the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Veterinary Medicine and the PGC), where you can find a form for reporting diseased or dead songbirds with the eye and/or neurological symptoms.

Thanks so much for your help with this unfortunate situation!


[Robyn's email below]
Greetings all,

You have probably heard about this by now.  It is a new emerging disease and the causative agent is not known.  Birds are dying...mostly young song birds.  We are open at CWC and willing to accept birds for care.  And we are working with the Wildlife Futures Program to submit birds that do not make it for testing.  

Learn more:  



    Sandhill Crane near Jersey Shore. Photo by Wayne Laubscher

    Wildlife in Need (WIN) Emergency Response of Pennsylvania
    Wildlife in Need (WIN) is a statewide network of volunteers who help in the rescue of sick, injured and orphaned wildlife and assist in getting them to licensed rehabilitation centers in Pennsylvania.  The public can obtain information on WIN and rehabilitation centers by calling 814-414-4224.  If the animal is already contained, you will be provided with information on how to minimize stress, who to contact and where to transport the animal for care. If the animal is not yet contained, or it is at a place of business WIN can provide capture/transport services.  

    WIN is in need of more volunteers so if you have any interest in doing this important work please contact Sue DeArment at sdearment@windstream.net 



    Lycoming Audubon Society's Google Listserv

    Lycoming Audubon Society has a new mechanism to quickly notify individuals of bird sightings or impromptu birding trips via e-mail. This involves joining "Lycoming Audubon Society's Google Listserv".  If you are interested in receiving these notices please send us an e-mail and we will add you to the distribution list.

    Lycoming Audubon’s Board of Directors has a “wish list” of projects that we agree are very worthwhile.  Realistically, the Board can not accomplish these projects without a “champion” to lead the charge.   If one of these projects is near and dear to your heart, please consider “adopting" it with guidance, assistance and support from your LAS Board.  Contact Joan at (570) 651-0131 to discuss further.

    1. HAWK WATCH on North White Deer Ridge (formal data collection for Golden Eagle migration at this location would be especially valuable).

    2. Conservation Education liaison with Rider Park, the Waterdale Environmental Center and others. Do you want to help teach youngsters about the magical world of birds? Sign up to help our group of aspiring educators.

    3. A cam site connected to our webpage (Peregrine or Eagle nest would be neat).

    4. Feeding station/birding program at a few local nursing homes.

    5. LAS Kestrel Box trail.





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