BALTIMORE (WJZ) — As Maryland Department of Natural Resources officials continue to investigate a strange bird illness in the region, they are asking residents to avoid feeding any species of birds.

Wildlife managers in eight other states and DC have seen reports of sick and dying birds with eye swelling and crusty discharge. Most of the affected birds are said to be common grackles, blue jays, European starlings and American robins but other songbirds have been linked to the illness as well. The disease poses no threat to human health, livestock or poultry.

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Researchers have ruled out many common pathogens, including Salmonella, avian influenza and West Nile virus.

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Officials said birds can find plenty of wild food this time of year and anything that leads birds to congregate could spread the illness. Feeders and bird baths should be cleaned with a 10% bleach solution, rinsed with water and allowed to air-dry. Pets should be kept away from sick or dead wild birds as a precaution.

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Residents can report sick or dead bird encounters to the state and U.S. Department of Agriculture wildlife hotline at 877-463-6497.

CBS Baltimore Staff