Winchester-Nabu Detective Agency Year Five:

Case File No. 24-232

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AMBER LOVE 24-OCT-2021 Find out how all this began. Catch up on Year One, Year Two, Year Three, and Year Four cases at the Winchester-Nabu Detective Agency.

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Where We Left Off:

There were several interactions with bunny rabbit creatures. Bun Solo was definitely proven to be a wolpertinger. The formal identification of young Ivy is still unknown.

The Adventure of the Noble Bachelor:

In August, the Winchester-Nabu Detective Agency took on a new hire. Since it was my birthday, I was extra excited to welcome Sherlock Gnomes into our employ! He has had a long reputation of solving crimes and not taking a penny for his work since his noble station keeps him quite comfortable. Therefore, we were doubly blessed not only by his acceptance of the position, but that he refused to take a salary. Since Gnome Grove is self-sustaining approximately nine months out of the year, I think Sherlock will be content to cohabitate with Gnomez Addams and Gnome Chomsky.

gnome with wheelbarrow

Sherlock and Gnome Chomsky seem to have taken it upon themselves to form a partnership. Chomsky helped acclimate Sherlock to our neck of the woods and give him lectures on the cryptid/wildlife activity. Sherlock has some experience with reports of mysterious monsters like hellhounds and vampires.

In the couple of months since Sherlock Gnomes started here, we’ve had several visits from white-tailed deer, Jersey devil-deer cryptids, black bears and their magical shapeshifting counterparts – volkolaks. Plus small critters and birds have continued to thrive.

It was worrisome for a half the summer because of the mysterious songbird disease. It wasn’t avian flu. It wasn’t anything that ornithologists had seen before. With the trees of Gnome Grove and its bordering hamlets like the Big Maple and the Fairy Garden, the gnomes had easy access to observe our local feathered friends. After experts realized how devastating this illness had was and that it spread through so many states, people were advised to remove bird feeders and stop creating backyard oases where birds would like to gather. Bird baths were included in the advisory.

blue jay and gnome

Here’s the thing: unless you pay attention to bird news, you probably didn’t even know about this. I saw that our local animal control officer had made a Facebook post about it — but again, what’s the percentage of residents that follow their local animal control? Probably not high.

On August 31, 2021, the NJ directive was lifted. People could resume feeding their birds. Yet, there was no update regarding what the hell this disease is. Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine summarized the initial warning:

“In May through July, 2021, a newly emerging illness causing crusty eyes, tremors, and paralysis among songbirds caused widespread concern. The illness affected mainly fledgling birds in eastern states including Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana, and District of Columbia. Many of these states issued advisories to cease providing food or water to birds out of an abundance of caution.”

blue jay in tree
This blue jay is possibly a juvenile or female; was worried it might be sick with the songbird disease.


With the feeding ban lifted, people no longer have to report finding sick/dead birds in certain states; New Jersey would like people to continue reporting sick birds through their DEP website form. It is strongly suggested that people wash and sterilize their feeders often. We haven’t been doing this and really should. The feeders (we go through many because they get broken) get sticky and filthy as do the cables or chains suspending them.

Another wildlife directive the gnomes have been given is to make sure the deer and deer-related animals are healthy. Chronic Wasting Disease is as hellish as the songbird illness. If you read Chuck Wendig’s The Book of Accidents, there’s a scene in there where it’s mentioned.

deer family

Hunting seasons are underway. New Jersey has a new law: The sale, possession, and use of lures and scents made from deer including deer urine and deer glandular secretions is now banned. Infectious prions that cause CWD can be found in these fluids.

One of the upcoming cases to be published does cover the investigation into a mysterious deer death, but it was not near Gnome Grove.

Case Findings:

Our new hire, Sherlock Gnomes, and his coworkers at Gnome Grove have not found any infected songbirds or deer creatures in the immediate vicinity.

Case Status: Closed

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