Special Statement: Unknown Bird Illness in Indiana

Indiana Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has received reports from various counties of sick and dying song birds due to unknown causes. Symptoms have been neurological signs, eye swelling, and crusty discharge around the eyes. The DNR is working with the Indiana Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory (IN ADDL) and the USGS National Wildlife Health Center to determine the birds’ cause of death.

“Several species are being affected,” said Allisyn-Marie Gillet, DNR ornithologist, “including blue jay, American robin, common grackle, Northern cardinal, European starling, and a few others. Several samples have been sent to IN ADDL." Gillet said that all bird samples submitted have tested negative for avian influenza and West Nile virus. Final laboratory diagnostic results are pending.

Please heed the following recommendations:

  • DNR recommends to stop feeding birds until the mortality event has concluded.
  • Clean feeders and baths with a 10% bleach solution.
  • Use the DNR sick/dead wildlife reporting tool at http://on.IN.gov/sickwildlife 
  • Avoid handling birds. If you need to handle birds, wear disposable gloves.
  • When removing dead birds, wear disposable gloves and place birds and gloves in a sealable plastic bag to dispose with household trash.
  • Keep pets away from sick or dead birds as a precaution.
  • If you choose to continue to feed birds, follow responsible bird feeding practices www.wbu.com/responsible-bird-feeding.
  • If you choose to continue to feed birds and see a sick or dying bird, sanitize your feeders, remove them for a few weeks and report your findings to the DNR.