INDIANAPOLIS — The Indiana Department of Natural Resources has received reports of sick and dying songbirds from 15 counties statewide, according to a news release dated June 25. As the investigation continues, the DNR recommends all Hoosiers remove their birdfeeders statewide.
The 15 counties are Clark, Delaware, Hamilton, Jackson, Jefferson, Johnson, LaGrange, Lake, Marion, Monroe, Newton, St. Joseph, Union, Washington and Whitley.
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.
The affected songbirds showed neurological signs of illness as well as eye swelling and crusty discharge.
Several samples have been sent to IN ADDL. All bird samples submitted have tested negative for avian influenza and West Nile virus. Final laboratory diagnostic results are pending.
On June 22, the DNR issued a press release saying the sick and dying songbirds had been found in five counties.
“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 following steps are recommended statewide:
• 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 plastic bag which can be sealed 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.