blackbirdWhy collect dead birds for West Nile virus surveillance?


Collecting and testing dead birds is an important component of the West Nile virus surveillance program. West Nile virus generally appears in birds and mosquitoes before it is transmitted to humans; therefore, monitoring bird populations helps predict when and where humans will be at risk for West Nile virus infections as well as where and when additional precautions and control measures should be taken.

What is an “eligible” bird?

“Eligible” birds are those that have been dead for less than 48 hours (have not started decomposing, no strong odor, no bloating, no maggots, eyes are not deflated or dried, etc.), have not been damaged by scavengers, and have no obvious cause of death. They must also be in one of the following categories:

                     • 1st Priority: crows and blue jays

                     • 2nd Priority: house finches, house sparrows, and robins

                     • Other Eligible Perching Birds: blackbirds, bluebirds, catbirds, cardinals, chickadees, cowbirds, creepers, goldfinches, grackles, finches, flycatchers, larks, mockingbirds, nuthatches, orioles, purple martins, sparrows (many species), starlings, swallows, tanagers, thrushes, warblers (many species), cedar waxwings, and wrens.

                     • Hawks and owls may also be submitted without prior approval from IDPH.

                     Do Not Submit: waterfowl, gulls, vultures, turkeys, chickens, or eagles.bluebird


Report any eligible birds found on your property between the dates of May 1st to October 15th

Environmental Health Division  618-233-7769