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Indiana DNR investigates dead, sick songbirds found in five counties

Officials are finding dead or dying songbirds throughout five Indiana counties, all exhibiting similar symptoms.
Credit: Adobe Stock - Teresa Considine

INDIANA, USA — Songbirds showing neurological signs of illness, eye swelling and crusty discharge are showing up sick or dead in five counties, Indiana DNR said Tuesday. 

The blue jay, American robin, common grackle, northern cardinal, European starling and more are among the affected species. 

They are being reported in Monroe, Clark, Jefferson, LaGrange, and Lake counties. 

DNR said it is working with the Indiana Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory and the USGS National Wildlife Health Center to determine the birds’ cause of death.

Credit: Bonnie Taylor Barry - stock.adobe.com
Northern cardinal mates perched on holly branches

All bird samples submitted have tested negative for avian influenza and West Nile virus. Final laboratory diagnostic results are pending.

If you find sick or dead wild birds on your property, here is the recommended protocol: 

• 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.

More information about the affected birds will be released pending diagnostic tests. 

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