Bird Danger Over, Township Reports, So Feeders Up!

LOWER FREDERICK PA – Residents in Lower Frederick and elsewhere can once again look forward to the sweet sound of songbirds. The township’s newsletter, distributed Wednesday (Sept. 15, 2021) indicates bird lovers can put their feeders back up, now that the Pennsylvania Game Commission has announced that an earlier illness which caused many birds to become sick or die during the summer seems to have ended.

Hundreds of birds across the state reportedly succumbed to the illness between July and August, from what at the time was an unknown cause. Birds’ bodies were found on lawns and elsewhere, and the commission – as well as the township Parks and Recreation Board – recommended removing feeders as a way to reduce spreading the sickness.

The commission and its partners have gained more knowledge since. Studies by the Cornell University Lab of Ornithology and College of Veterinary Medicine theorize the illness outbreak may have been due to the emergence of 17-year Brood X cicadas.

The geographic distribution and the timing of the songbird illness directly coincided with the arrival of the cicadas, researchers noted. Eating cicadas may have had toxic effects on the birds, because cicadas carry fungi that can produce toxins when ingested.

The trouble might have been doubled by cicadas sprayed with pesticides by property owners. Those chemicals could have prompted neurological symptoms.

With the danger past, Lower Frederick proclaimed it’s “safe to put up your feeders again, just in time for fall migrations and the arrival of cold-weather visitors!”

Photo by Igor Vetushko via Deposit Photos, used under license