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While the songbird illness is still a mystery, wildlife officials say it's okay to feed them again

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Posted at 1:52 PM, Sep 09, 2021

CLEVELAND — Ohio wildlife officials say it is okay to put the birdfeeder back out. Earlier this year, they recommended that residents remove bird feeders after a mysterious illness of unknown origins affected songbirds across the state.

The Ohio Division of Wildlife said that because the breeding season is primarily over and the illness affected immature fledgling birds, residents can resume feeding the birds with caution.

The Ohio Division of Wildlife said there is still no diagnosis on the cause of the illness. Research to find out the cause is ongoing at multiple labs.

Many other songbird diseases can be passed through feeding. Anyone with bird feeders is recommended to keep their feeders clean by using a 10% bleach solution — 1 part bleach, 9 parts water — rinsing, and letting the feeder dry for at least a week.

Symptoms of diseases such as house finch eye disease and salmonellosis include reddish or crusty eyes, and neurological conditions such as poor balance and coordination

If you find sick birds with these symptoms or neurological issues such as loss of balance or coordination, you’re asked to contact your nearest licensed wildlife rehabilitator.

RELATED: Bird rescue and rehab centers closely monitoring mysterious illness affecting songbirds

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