Indiana counties report dying songbirds, DNR investigating

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A Northern Cardinal sits on a tree limb in Shermansdale , Pa., Saturday, Nov. 8, 2008. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

MONROE COUNTY, Ind.–Indiana Department of Natural Resources is investigating after reports of sick and dying songbirds in five counties.

It said the five counties are Monroe, Clark, Jefferson, LaGrange, and Lake.

“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.”

The affected songbirds showed neurological signs of illness as well as eye swelling and crusty discharge, according to DNR.

DNR said it 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 samples have already been sent to IN ADDL, and Gillet said that all bird samples submitted have tested negative for avian influenza and West Nile virus with results pending.

The following recommendations are good practice for anyone who experiences sick or dead wild birds on their property:

• 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.

Additional information will be shared when final diagnostic results are received.

To view all DNR news releases, please see dnr.IN.gov.

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