Hoosiers in all Indiana counties may now resume feeding the birds, the Department of Natural Resources said Friday.
“Residents throughout Indiana may again put out their feeders if they are comfortable doing so and are not observing sick or dead birds in their yards,” the DNR said in a statement.
The state agency had recommended a statewide moratorium on bird-feeding this summer to slow the spread of the still-undetermined illness, which has been killing birds across Indiana, Ohio and other states.
Biologists identified more than 750 possible cases in 76 counties that involved a specific set of clinical signs, including crusty eyes, eye discharge and neurological issues.
“By taking down their feeders and submitting more than 4,300 reports, residents enabled DNR staff (to) track the disease, detect regional differences and provide updated recommendations for feeding birds,” the statement said. “The DNR appreciates the efforts and actions of Hoosiers statewide.”
Those doing so are asked to clean seed and suet feeders at least once every two weeks by scrubbing them with soap and water, followed by a short soak in a 10% bleach solution. Feeders should be thoroughly rinsed and dried before being filled with birdseed.
Hummingbird feeders should be cleaned at least once a week with a 10% bleach solution and rinsed thoroughly, the agency said.
In addition, DNR biologists encouraged Hoosiers to continue reporting any sick or dead birds they find to on.IN.gov/sickwildlife.
The federal National Wildlife Health Center's avian disease experts and other scientists are continuing their investigation into the unidentified bird disease.