Rhode Islanders can once again feed wild birds, DEM says

Environment

Courtesy: RI DEM

PROVIDENCE, R.I (WPRI) — The R.I. Department of Environmental Management (DEM) has lifted a precautionary advisory on that asked Rhode Islanders to taken down their bird feeders and baths.

The DEM issued the advisory back in July due to a “mysterious illness” that was killing songbirds along the east coast.

As of mid-August, the DEM said reports of dead birds have decreased in Rhode Island. Researchers along the east coast have ruled out bird flu and other common bird illnesses, adding that the illness has not impacted humans or other animals, according to the DEM.

Although no confirmed cases of the mysterious illness have been detected in Rhode Island, the DEM said residents should remain vigilant while feeding wild birds. All wild bird feeders and birdbaths should be regularly cleaned once every 10 days.

“As Rhode Islanders begin to put their bird feeders and baths back in place, now is the perfect opportunity to start a regular cleaning routine to lessen the chance of diseases spreading in places where birds congregate. Small actions can add up in a big way to keep birds safe,” DEM biologist John Herbert said.

If anyone observes additional dead or sick birds with crusty eyes or neurological impairment, the DEM asks that they photograph them, noting the date and time, and submit it online for record-keeping.

The DEM also reminds the public not to feed birds or any wildlife in areas where bears are active.

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