The mystery of the birds that fell in flight, what’s happening in America

Hundreds of birds suffering from a strange disease that scientists still don't understand: the mystery of the birds that fell in flight in America.

The scenario is a bit like that of Alfred Hitchcock's film "The Birds". In the United States, birds behave as if they were blind, crashing into humans, who at this point might feel "attacked", just like the protagonists of the 1963 horror film. Unfortunately, what has been masterfully put on the screen, and what is also happening in reality (to a very, very small extent, of course) is not an inter-species war but a sign of a state of health of American birds that is far from optimal.

What is happening to birds in the US

The symptoms of the unknown disease affect hundreds of birds in the South and Midwest of the United States. The birds are acting as if they are blind and not avoiding humans. According to scientists, this is a clear symptom of a disease that afflicts birds across an entire geographic area. But beyond the symptoms, we still know little about the mysterious ailment. We don't know what causes it or what it depends on or where it comes from and how it is transmitted.

Among other consequences on infected organisms are red, swollen eyes, possibly linked to blindness, and possible neurological damage involving tremors and loss of balance. The condition is widespread in Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana, Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia, while there is no ironclad confirmation on the most affected species. Undeniably, the situation alarms associations and research and protection agencies in the United States, such as the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources, which has posted some updates of the situation on its Facebook page: "To date, blue jays, common chough and European starlings have been reported sick or dead, but other species may also be affected."

This is just the latest of many threats to animal species

Although the state of research is still embryonic, naturalists couldn't help but notice how mysterious disappearances and diseases with gruesome effects are actually becoming increasingly common in animals. Already in 2020 there was the disappearance of some birds in New Mexico. And what about the bizarre fungus that has turned cicadas in the United States into zombie-like beings or the oxygen that is disappearing from Earth's lakes?

It's always worth paying attention to how the smallest actions of us humans can make the difference between the life and death of millions of animals. One example? Turning off the lights in rooms you're not using could save a staggering number of birds.

Giuseppe Giordano