Here's a serious question, folks. Do you have a bird feeder and/or birdbath in your yard? The Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife along with other wildlife officials are urging residents of the Bay State to take them down.

Mass.gov is reporting on a wildlife advisory regarding the "mystery disease" that has been spreading and killing birds in other parts of the country. Wildlife officials are urging Massachusetts residents to remove bird feeders and birdbaths from their yards and to report any sightings of dead birds.

Back in May, various states including Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, and Washington D.C. began receiving reports of sick and dying birds. More recently, reports have been coming in from additional states including Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

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The birds were seen with neurological signs, eye swelling, and crusty discharge. The definitive cause or causes of death is still unknown at this time. Birds that congregate at bird feeders and birdbaths can transmit diseases to one another so as a cautionary measure, MassWildlife is urging people to take them down for the time being.

The mysterious disease, at least as of now, has not been reported in any New England states. The rate that the disease has been spreading though, has officials erring on the side of caution. Also, experts say that birds should be able to find plenty of natural foods this time of year without needing birdseed.

MassWildlife is also asking residents to please report any sightings of sick or dead birds to help track this widespread mortality event. There's no need to report dead birds where the cause of death appears to be obvious like collision with glass or cat predation. Report sightings by emailing mass.wildlife@mass.gov.

Wildlife officials are also recommending to the public to not handle any dead birds unless absolutely necessary. If you do have to handle them, use disposable gloves and wash your hands thoroughly afterward.

For more information, visit Mass.gov's website here.

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