DNR investigating reports of sick and dying songbirds in 5 counties


INDIANAPOLIS (WANE) – The Indiana Department of Natural Resources (DNR) said it has received reports of sick and dying songbirds from five counties and 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.

The five counties are Monroe, Clark, Jefferson, LaGrange and Lake.

The DNR said the affected songbirds have shown neurological signs of illness as well as eye swelling and crusty discharge.

“Several species are being affected including blue jay, American robin, common grackle, Northern cardinal, European starling, and a few others,” said Allisyn-Marie Gillet, DNR ornithologist.

A number of samples have been sent to IN ADDL, and Gillet said all bird samples submitted have tested negative for avian influenza and West Nile virus. The final laboratory diagnostic results are pending.

Anyone who sees sick or dead wild birds on their property are asked to:

  • Use the DNR sick/dead wildlife reporting tool at on.IN.gov/sickwildlife to alert DNR staff.
  • Stop feeding birds until the mortality event has concluded.
  • Clean feeders and baths with a 10% bleach solution.
  • 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.

The DNR said additional information will be shared when final diagnostic results are received.

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