Date: 5/10/19 4:05 am
From: Steve Long <steve.long4...>
Subject: [MDBirding] Blackbirds in Trouble?
I am seeing a Red-winged Blackbird under out feeders acting very
strangely.  It has trouble standing on its two feet.  It hops around to
change location, but falls over on each hop, finally coming to rest on
its belly and pecking seeds on the ground.  But, if I go near it, it
flies away without any apparent difficulty. It was doing that last
evening, and is back this morning.  It falls to its right side, and the
red wing patch on its right side appears to be much smaller than on its
left side.  It seems to be missing a  lot of feathers from the top front
of its head, with sort of a "balding" look to it.

In addition, 3 days before, I found a recently dead Grackle about 200'
away on the other side of my house while I was picking up sticks before
mowing.  I could not determine what killed that Grackle.  It had lost
some large wing and tail feathers at the location where I found it, but
otherwise looked very healthy. Eyes were clear and there were  no
obvious wounds or blood.  But, judging by the loose feathers, something
happened there.

Does anybody know if there is something "going around" with blackbirds
that might explain this.  Other birds in the area look normal.  There
have been some recent carbofuran poisoning incidents in this county, but
those usually involve avian predators or scavengers.

Steve Long, Oxford


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