UNIVERSITY PARK – Pennsylvanians may see dead and dying songbirds exhibiting strange symptoms according to a Penn State Extension wildlife specialist monitoring the spread of a mysterious disease. Margaret Brittingham, professor of wildlife resources at Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences, says there have been recent reports of sick and dying birds around the Northeast. The affected birds have crusty eyes and neurological symptoms that may include seizures, difficulty standing, and head shaking. In PA, most of the cases have occurred in the southeast region of the state. The primary species affected are blue jays, common grackles, American robins, northern cardinals, and European starlings. Brittingham said we know more about what is not causing these symptoms and deaths than what is causing them. The Wildlife Futures Program at the University of PA Veterinary School is working in conjunction with the PA Game Commission to test birds for different pathogens and toxins to determine the cause. Brittingham urges residents to take bird feeders down to increase “social distancing” in birds to reduce the risk of disease spread and wash feeders and bird baths by soaking them in a 10% bleach solution before putting them back out after the problem is over. Keep pets away from sick or dead birds and wash your hands with soap and water after handling birds or feeders.