News update: Backyard Wildlife College Responds to Mysterious Bird Disease

(Backyard Wildlife College, Allentown PA, est. 2017)

“More than just fluffy bunnies”

Male Gold Finch at a bird feeder, looking over his shoulder
Rocco the Gold Finch in happier times at his local: the tube feeder was the hub of social life for the Feathered Creatures Division.

A mysterious and fatal bird disease is spreading among song birds in the eastern US, and the Pennsylvania Game Commission has recommended all feathered creatures observe social distancing and extra hygiene measures.

Backyard Wildlife College in response ceased dining operations for our feathered faculty, staff and students at all feeders, with exception of Cafe Colibri. (Only Mrs. Ruby-Throated uses this facility and so far, no reports have shown her species to be affected.)

At this moment, there are no known cases or fatalities on Backyard Wildlife College’s grounds of this mysterious disease, but we are treating this situation with the utmost seriousness. Birds afflicted by this disease often have “eye swelling and crusty discharge”; other symptoms can include breathing trouble, blood from the mouth, and weakness and neurological issues. Most birds sadly die. Please report any cases (dead or alive) on this form from UPenn, as the human scientists are trying to get to the root of this.

The groundskeeper has immediately taken the following actions: the window feeders and the squirrel-proof tube by the backdoor of the human dwelling have been taken down and washed in a 10% bleach solution (as recommended). The bird bath has been removed, and similarly sanitized before storage. The Organic Protein Bar on the west side of the human dwelling, also known as the expanded wildflower strip, remains open for foraging to all creatures. No agreement has been reached with the Creepy Crawly Division now housed there, but they have been made aware of the situation and reminded of their position in the feeding chain. Our groundskeeper follows the situation carefully and will reopen the dining facilities as soon as the situation is deemed safe again.

Grass remains available at will for rabbits and groundhog, and peanuts can be requested by squirrels.

We realize this is a big blow to the community, as our dining facilities were the hub of the local social wildlife, where House and Gold Finches, Chickadees, Juncos, Sparrows, Cardinals, Mourning Doves, Robins, and the odd Grackle, Catbird, and Cowbird and many more congregated. We hope together (though not physically together) we can stop the spread of this pernicious disease.

However, we have only in the past 16 months seen how a deadly virus ravaged through the human community, and we must try to learn some lessons from that event. We hope that by acting before it’s too late, using a data-driven approach, and erring on the side of caution, we can soon resume our previous convivial chats over sunflower hearts in safety.

Whatever you do as a feathered creature, don’t make our editor create the bird-version of this meme. Remember, we’re better than humans. And usually cuter too.

three cats look out of window, first cat says: "so if everyone isolates and keeps clean and follows instructions everything will be ok?" Wise-looking cat in the middle says "Yes, the future of the planet depends on the intelligence of the human race" Small tuxedo cat on the right with worried expression thinks "We're fucked"
Our groundskeeper was rather fond of this meme...

Be safe, be well, keep your distance. (And if you're human: get vaccinated when you can & wash your hands!)

2 thoughts on “News update: Backyard Wildlife College Responds to Mysterious Bird Disease

  1. Nonna

    Enkele jaren terug hadden we zo iets bij de merels
    . Heeft enkele seizoenen geduurd eer populatie zich herstelde.
    Hopelijk snel beter.
    Bloemen zijn mooi .

    1. polifinario

      Ja, daar moest ik ook aan denken – het is hier wel stillekes zonder de vogels zo dichtbij. Hummie komt wel nog langs ☺️


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