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Here’s what to do when you find dead birds amid recent epidemic

As you’ve probably heard, something is going around and killing regional birds, and local residents are encouraged to report bird deaths to a state database.

The Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources has launched a form to collect data statewide on which birds are being affected, how, and where. The form asks basic location information but also asks residents to identify specific issues, namely whether there’s visible crusting or swelling around the eyes, or if there are neurological problems like head tilting or uncoordinated movement.

Officially, the cause of the widespread bird deaths is unknown, but the elephant in the room is people’s response to the cicada reemergence. It’s been theorized that insecticide left out to kill cicadas has been getting into the bird population, but there’s nothing concrete to confirm that yet.

The Animal Welfare League of Alexandria said the calls have been ongoing since mid-May for sick and injured birds, most commonly grackles and blue jays.

“Eye issues were reported in what otherwise looked like healthy juvenile birds, causing blindness that leads the birds to land and stay on the ground,” the AWLA said. “The AWLA’s Animal Services team are now seeing additional species of birds affected. Other agencies and localities across the region and state are reporting similar issues at this time.”

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