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Experts ask Wisconsinites to keep an eye on state birds

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WISCONSIN (WAOW) -- If you're a bird watcher, experts are asking you to keep an eye out as some birds are dying for unknown reasons in other states.

Seizures, swollen eyes, and a lack of coordination are all symptoms seen in birds that have been dying in several states. So far, experts don't know the reason.

"We're not even sure what is causing this illness so I can't say it's definitively a disease or an infectious agent of any type," DNR Veterinarian Lindsey Long said.

That's why state officials want people in Wisconsin to keep an eye on birds here.

"We have had a few reports sporadically, normally like one or two birds that could be consistent with the signs that they're seeing in those events," Long said.

If they receive a report of a sick bird, testing will be done to see if it could have the same illness as the others.

"We'll submit it to the lab and they'll actually look at the tissues and try to identify if it looks the same as the ones they're seeing out East and they'll do further diagnostic testing if it is," Long said.

While there haven't been any confirmed cases of the mystery illness in Wisconsin, officials are still asking people to take preventative measures.

"But just out of an abundance of caution we are recommending people stop feeding right now. They should clean out their feeders as well not just leave them out there. There are ways to do that, you can use a 10 percent bleach solution to clean out your bird bath and bird feeder," Executive Director of Madison Audubon Matt Reetz said.

He says removing or halting use of feeders can help keep the birds safe and said they will be just fine without the food.

"I know folks will be sad that birds aren't visiting their feeders but birds will be okay with the amount of food that is out there," Reetz said.

If you see a bird that has some of the symptoms you are encouraged to call the DNR and they will walk you through the next steps.

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