Leppold quoted on monitoring disease killing birds in mid-Atlantic states
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Fellows in the News

Editor's note: this is an excerpt from a story published in Maine's Press Herald. Read the original article here.

Maine officials monitoring disease killing birds in mid-Atlantic states

However, officials in Maine say the disease – which has afflicted blue jays, grackles and some songbirds – is not a cause for concern in Maine at this time.

July 16, 2021. Deidre Fleming, Press Herald

Officials in Maine are monitoring the spread of a mysterious disease that has caused blindness and death in songbirds throughout the mid-Atlantic states and Ohio Valley in recent months. But Maine biologists are not going as far as officials in Connecticut and Massachusetts, who have asked the public to take in feeders and bird baths.

As of Friday, the disease has not been found in birds north of Pennsylvania, said Adrienne Leppold, Switzer Fellow and songbird biologist with the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. Leppold said the illness is not a cause for concern in Maine at this time. 

“To be honest, I find the amount of outdoor cats and window strikes way more alarming for birds and bird populations than this disease,” Leppold said.

Scientists don’t yet know what is causing the disease – or even if taking down bird feeders helps stop the spread of it, she said.

“They’ve been able to rule out what it is not – it’s not a few of the common diseases, such as West Nile,” Leppold said. “And there is no evidence that it’s zoonotic – that it transmits to other animals. It is not any of the identified kinds of fungus or … viruses out there.”

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