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The Department of Natural Resources investigating mysterious songbird deaths

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Posted at 11:25 PM, Jun 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-22 23:32:21-04

INDIANAPOLIS — The Indiana Department of Natural Resources is looking into mysterious cases of sick and dying songbirds in five counties across the state.

The DNR, along with the Indiana Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory and the USGS National Wildlife Heath Center to determine the cause of death of these birds.

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

According to a press release from the Department of Natural Resources, the affected birds showed neurological signs of illness as well as eye swelling and crusty discharge.

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

Several samples have been sent to the Indiana Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory. Gillet said that all bird samples submitted have tested negative for avian influenza and West Nile virus, while final laboratory diagnostic results are pending.

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

  • 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.