U.S. Forest Service asking public’s help in unexplained high songbird mortality

New Mexico News

JEMEZ SPRINGS (KRQE) – The U.S. Forest Service is asking the public’s help in collecting data in regards to a recent uptick in the deaths of adult songbirds in the Jemez Springs area.

In a social media post Friday, the U.S. Forest Service in the Santa Fe National Forest posted a photo of dead Western Bluebirds shared by a concerned hiker. Officials say they are surprised by the amount of birds that have died. They cite recent record-breaking storms and the possibility of toxins released from neighboring wildfires as possible causes.

The New Mexico Department of Game and Fish is currently collecting specimens to send to the National Wildlife Health Center. They ask that if someone collects a specimen the weekend of September 11 and wishes to submit it to the center to:

  • Use exam gloves or cover your hand with a baggie to avoid contact with the carcass and wash hands thoroughly afterwards.
  • Collect specimen(s) in plastic bags and include a paper note inside the bag with the date, location, and species identification (if known).
  • Tally the number of specimens collected per site – this will be used in the department’s submission report to the National Wildlife Health Center.
  • Double bag the specimen and store it in the freezer.
  • Send reports of specimens collected to erin.duvuvuei@state.nm.us

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