Concern over dead cowbirds

woodjin

Piney
Nov 8, 2004
4,274
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Near Mt. Misery
In the spring, my bird feeders were over run by brown headed cowbirds. Their numbers diminished as the season progressed, but there were always some to be seen.

A few days ago I found a dead cowbird under my deck. It did not have any visable trauma. I threw it in the woods figuring it must have hit a window and broke it's neck. However, about a 1/2 hour later I saw a cowbird on my feeder that did not seem right. He did not fly from my approach and studied me oddly as I looked at him. He eventually did fly and did not seem impaired.

Later, my son and I were in the yard and he remained on the feeder watching us, he did not care how close we came to the feeder.

the next moring he was still there. This morning I went into the backyard and he was on the ground. As I got within 15 feet of him, he flew off. Tonight just before dark I found him dead in the yard. Again there was no sign of trauma. I put him in the woods as well.

I was concerned and looked into brown headed cowbird disease. They are actually known for being very resistant to disease (a trait developed from their parasitic nature) but are major carriers of West Nile virus and Sarcocystis Neurona (a disease mostly affecting horses). It is hard to determine but it appears that sometimes these diseases are fatal for the birds, but they are mostly just carriers.

I am wondering if I should be concerned. There are lots of mosquitos about and I wonder if I should bag that last bird to have him tested. Unfortunitely the insects already started on him.

Any thoughts, or additional info on this would be great thanks,

Jeff
 

Teegate

Administrator
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Sep 17, 2002
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I would have to agree that you should at least contact someone. You could be the person who solves a mystery or saves a life.


Guy
 

oji

Piney
Jan 25, 2008
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Browns Mills
Last week at my sister's house a Bluejay landed on the fence panting heavily. It sat there panting for a couple minutes and then it just dropped on the ground dead.
 

46er

BANNED
Mar 24, 2004
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Coastal NJ
Lots of Starlings around, might want to check to see if there are any controls being used for them. What is used sometimes affects other birds. Control by the USDA caused a similar event in Somerset County. As already suggested, Ocean County Health should be contacted and able to check it out and test the dead birds. West Nile is a possibility, but I haven't seen anything about any positive test results this year.
 

turtle

Explorer
Feb 4, 2009
635
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a village...in the pines
Hey all,
Burlington Co. Health Dept.... 265-5526
Atlantic Co....645-4349
Camden Co....856-374-6036

USDA is also collecting info on Avian Flu (dead birds)...1-866-4-USDA-WS

Nice heads up!
Turtle
 
Nov 12, 2007
91
0
6
atlantic county
One fish two fish DEAD FISH........

Gabe and I were reading an article in yesterdays paper that mentioned the mass fish kill in Smithville Lake. What caused the death of nearly 200 fish was lack of oxygen. Oxygen depleation is on the rise is natural waterways due to the mass use of fertilizers and soaps. These products raise the nutrients in the water causing algae blooms. The algae eats up all the oxygen the fish need to survive. This instance certainly gives us something to think about next time we do laundry or fertilize that green lawn!!
 

Teegate

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Sep 17, 2002
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To me there are more important things to worry about than washing a car in a driveway. I never could understand that one.

Guy
 

46er

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Mar 24, 2004
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To me there are more important things to worry about than washing a car in a driveway. I never could understand that one.

Guy
It's pretty simple really; similar to what happens with the fertilizer. The soap/fertilizer(phosphorus/nitrogen) goes into the gutter, to the storm drain, to the water source; where it feeds the algae. Most storm water systems empty into a water source. Or if your home location does not have gutters and storm drains, it follows the path of least resistance into a water source or aquifer.

There is, IMO, a rather radical movement to have an ordinance passed to prohibit the sale of slow release fertilizers in Ocean County to attempt to reverse the problems in Barnegat bay The states around the Chesapeake Bay already have implemented regulations such as this.

One enviroMentalist group leading the effort at the link;

Save Barnegat Bay
http://www.savebarnegatbay.org/news_215.shtml
 

Teegate

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Sep 17, 2002
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It's pretty simple really; similar to what happens with the fertilizer. The soap/fertilizer(phosphorus/nitrogen) goes into the gutter, to the storm drain, to the water source; where it feeds the algae. Most storm water systems empty into a water source. Or if your home location does not have gutters and storm drains, it follows the path of least resistance into a water source or aquifer.
True, but there are many more serious things to worry about than the small amount from washing cars.

Guy