Life.Style.Live!

Dead songbirds found in more than 40 Indiana counties, how you can help

The number of Indiana counties with dead birds has more than doubled since Friday, and you may be wondering how you can do your part to keep them alive. Mary Hayes, public engagement supervisor for the Indiana Department of Natural Resources joined us today with an update on the situation and how you can help. Here’s more from her:

Status of event:

  • In late May, DNR started receiving reports of sick and dying birds from Monroe County with neurological signs, eye swelling, and crusty discharge around the eyes. 
  • Reports of sick and dying birds now include several counties: Allen, Bartholomew, Benton, Boone, Brown, Carroll, Clark, Clinton, Decatur, Delaware, Floyd, Gibson, Greene, Hamilton, Hancock, Hendricks, Henry, Howard, Jackson, Jefferson, Johnson, Kosciusko, LaGrange, Lake, LaPorte, Lawrence, Marion, Monroe, Morgan, Newton, Ohio, Orange, Parke, Porter, Pulaski, Putnam, Starke, St. Joe, Tippecanoe, Union, Vanderburgh, Washington, Whitley.
  • Multiple bird species have been reported as affected, including American robin, blue jay, brown-headed cowbird, common grackle, European starling, sparrow, house finch, northern cardinal, red-headed woodpecker, wren. 
  • DNR staff have collected samples from Monroe County and submitted them to the Indiana Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory. Final laboratory diagnostic results are pending – the cause or transmission is currently unknown and still under investigation.
  • All birds have tested negative for avian influenza and West Nile virus.

Precautions Indiana residents should take

  • Indiana residents should:
    • Cease feeding birds statewide until the mortality event has concluded or more information is available.
    • Feeders, bird baths, or other sources that encourage the congregation of wild birds should be taken down or discontinued. Limiting crowding can help limit the spread of disease.
    • Clean feeders and baths with 10% bleach solution and store until the mortality event has concluded or more information is available.
    • Avoid handling birds, but wear disposable gloves if handling is necessary.
    • Keep pets away from sick or dead birds as a precaution.
  • Permitted wildlife rehabilitators
  • When removing dead birds, wear disposable gloves and place birds in a sealable plastic bag to dispose with household trash.
  • For more information about the songbird deaths or where to report a dead bird with the above symptoms, visit DNR’s home page: in.gov/dnr

Hobby flocks of poultry:

If you have questions about hobby flocks of chickens, ducks and other backyard poultry, you are advised to go to BOAH (Indiana Board of Animal Health) for more information:

Information on ways to protect poultry flocks: in.gov/boah/species-information/avianbirds/small-flock-and-exhibition-poultry/

Any unusual or unexplained death loss or illness should be reported to the US Department of Agriculture Healthy Birds Hotline:  866-536-7593.

For more information visit, DNR.IN.gov.