Dead Birds Could Be Linked To Cicada Surge, Ohio Investigates

Cicadas Emerge in Eastern USA

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Officials are investigating whether cicadas are to blame for dead birds increasingly turning up in Southwest Ohio.

The insects are emerging in several states this year after their usual 17-year hiatus, and fingers are being pointed at them for many reasons.

Aside from complaints of their noisy screeches (bad enough to surge 911 calls in Georgia), cicadas have also been blamed for crashing cars.

Brian Banbury of the Ohio Division of Wildlife says it isn’t “overly likely” that cicadas are to blame for birds suddenly dying, but the agency launched a preliminary investigation to learn more, he told Cincinnati-based WLWT. He said anyone who encounters a sick bird should contact the Ohio Division of Wildlife.

Cicadas — known as “Brood X” cicadas — start to emerge when the soil reaches about 64 degrees Fahrenheit, usually around late-April or mid-May, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

“Periodical cicadas make themselves known with their sheer numbers and their constant cricket-like noise, which is the male ’singing’ to attract female cicadas,” said Tom Macy, manager of the ODNR Division of Forestry Forest Health Program. "Cicada chorusing is the loudest natural noise in the world."

Learn more about cicadas from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources here.