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.
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Deer hunters seeking private property in Indiana to hunt on can connect with landowners, golf courses, parks, land trusts, farmers and communities interested in letting them do so.
The state’s Department of Natural Resources says Deer Hunt Registry system signups start Monday. The system is being administered by the DNR’s Fish & Wildlife division.
Signing onto the registry does not guarantee additional hunting opportunities or placement in a managed hunt.
The system replaces the Hunters Helping Farmers program and incorporating the Community Hunter Access Program.
LAWRENCE, IN (WISH) – Two men accused of causing at least $50,000 in damage by carving out an illegal bike trail in a protected area of a state park were charged with trespassing and criminal mischief, Indiana Department of Natural Resources (DNR) officials said Wednesday.
Attorneys for Michael Hufhand and Jed Kidwell, the co-defendants in the case, could not be reached for comment.
The trail is approximately a mile and a half long and winds through the 100-acre Chinquapin Nature Preserve located in the northeastern corner of Fort Harrison State Park, authorities told 24-Hour News 8.
“They actually used chemicals [and] chemical spray to kill vegetation,” said Capt. Bill Browne, a DNR spokesman. “They used shovels. They used tools in order to create something they could ride bicycles through.”
The Chinquapin Nature Preserve is home to protected species, including the great blue heron, and acts as a nesting area for birds. There are no approved trails or roads open to the public in the area – as well as “No Trespassing” signs posted along the edge of the preserve – leading investigators to believe Hufhand and Kidwell were aware they were encroaching on a restricted area.
Park officials were “shocked” when the illegal trail was first discovered last May, according to Fort Harrison State Park property manager Brady Givens.
“People understand that this is something to be protected and taken care of,” he said. “We are disappointed that people are not respecting these resources.”
Members of the Hoosier Mountain Bike Association (HMBA) said they also found the illicit trail disappointing and surprising, considering the legitimate options their organization has worked with the DNR to create.
“[We are] currently involved in active trail-building projects,” explained HMBA president Paul Arlinghaus. “If you want to create your own bike trail, there are places where you can do it legally. If you want to bike through the state park, there are real trails where you can bike.”
Fort Harrison State Park visitors can even cycle through two of the park’s other nature preserves. Chinquapin, however, remains off limits and will not fully recover from the damage caused by the trail, officials said.
“We want to make sure [Hufhand and Kidwell] are brought to justice,” said Browne. “When somebody does something like this, we’re all a little shocked.”
Each defendant is charged with one count of criminal mischief, a level six felony in this case, and one count of trespassing, a class A misdemeanor, according to Marion County Superior Court records. If convicted, the felony charge is punishable by up to two and a half years in prison.