With summer fast approaching the higher temperatures mixed with low rainfall will bring out mosquitos that can transmit the West Nile Virus to birds and humans. The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) is requesting all health departments submit two to five eligible dead birds for testing from May 1, 2017 through October 15, 2017.
Eligible birds include: crows, blue jays, grackles, starling, sparrows, finches, robins, cardinals, flycatchers, swallows, catbirds, mockingbirds, warblers, wrens, hawks, and owls. For help identifying what type of bird is dead please visit http://www.dph.illinois.gov/topics-services/diseases-and-conditions/west-nile-virus/dead-bird-collection. The bird should be believed to have died in the past 48 hours and should be put on chill packs or refrigerated as soon as possible. Eligible birds may not have an obvious cause of death, such as a gunshot wound or crushed on the roadway. Birds may not be damaged by animals or decomposing. Signs of decomposition are: strong odor, eyes deflated or dried, maggots present, or bloating from gases. If a bird has any of those symptoms they should be discarded.
Found a Dead Bird?
1. Is the carcass in good condition?
2. Is the cause of death unknown?
3. Is it an eligible species?
If you answered YES to these three questions then you have a bird that may be tested for the West Nile Virus. Please report the bird to Dead Bird Hotline 815-720-4245 or visit On-Line Dead Bird Reporting System. Dead Bird reporting and Laboratory Submission Form.
If you answered NO to any one of these questions then the bird does not meet the criteria and it is recommended disposing of the bird. It is recommended using gloves, double plastic bags, or a shovel when handling the body, do not use your bare hands.
Protect Yourself and the Community with the Three R's
Reduce-dump any standing water
Repel- Wear protective clothing and insect repellent
Report-report dead birds to the Winnebago County Dead Bird hotline