Mysterious Eye Disease Affecting the Birds

Bullock's Oriole (Icterus bullockii)
Bullock’s Oriole (Icterus bullockii)

A mystery eye disease is affecting birds across the Mid-Atlantic region. Ornithologists are trying to figure out what is happening to the birds. To help stop the spread bird lovers and scientists have asked that we take down our feeders.

Many birds species, particularly those that visit feeders regularly have been spotted with symptoms of the disease. Symptoms include crusty eyes and seizures.

They have reported dead birds in Washington, D.C., Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, and Kentucky. If you are not n those areas, be on the lookout for the symptoms.

I took down my feeders and bird water cooler last weekend. I disinfected them with a 10% bleach solution as scientists suggested. I won’t put the feeders back until we get an all clear.

I truly miss the watching the birds fly in for a quick drink of water and then zoom off to more adventures. But I am a big girl. I put on my big girl pants and took down my feeders.

Read more about the mysterious disease here on Penn State Extension Service’s website.

Updates on Mysterious Eye Disease Affecting Birds

As of this writing (December 14, 2021, I haven’t read anything that the mysterious bird eye disease which affected birds in eastern and central North America has not been identified.

Here are the articles I could find related to the disease.

‘Mystery’ bird illness cases on the decline, Cornell Lab says (Ames Tribune, August 12, 2021)


In August 2021, the public was told the disease spread was subsiding and it was again safe to put out feeders.



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  1. I live in Glassboro NJ and have been feeding birds in my backyard for 30 years. I recently stopped offering bird food when I learned about this disease. Fortunately, I’ve not witnesses this eye disease in any of the bird who still frequent my back yard. There baby robins just fledged this weekend and none had any signs of disease.

    • Hi Mark, I haven’t seen signs of the disease either. I took down my feeders and hope to put them back up soon. The two feral cats in my neighborhood like my feeders too much, anyway.

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