Update: 7.16.2021

The Indiana Department of Natural Resources has yet another update regarding the death of birds across the Hoosier State (and beyond). The sick and dying birds have now been reported in 69 Indiana counties including Warrick and Vanderburgh:

Allen, Bartholomew, Benton, Boone, Brown, Carroll, Cass, Clark, Clay, Clinton, Crawford, Dearborn, Decatur, DeKalb, Delaware, Dubois, Elkhart, Fayette, Floyd, Fulton, Gibson, Grant, Greene, Hamilton, Hancock, Harrison, Hendricks, Henry, Howard, Huntington, Jackson, Jasper, Jay, Jefferson, Johnson, Kosciusko, LaGrange, Lake, LaPorte, Lawrence, Madison, Marion, Marshall, Monroe, Morgan, Newton, Noble, Ohio, Orange, Owen, Parke, Porter, Pulaski, Putnam, Randolph, Ripley, Rush, Shelby, St. Joseph, Starke, Sullivan, Tippecanoe, Union, Vanderburgh, Vigo, Warrick, Washington, White, Whitley.

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Not only is the reach of this mystery illness spreading to more counties, but Indiana DNR has now expanded the number of bird species that are being affected as well. Originally the Indiana Department of Natural Resources had said that the American robin, blue jay, brown-headed cowbird, starling, northern cardinal, and common grackle were primarily impacted, they have now expanded that list to include sparrow, house finch, red-headed woodpecker, and wren as well.

Again, the Indiana Department of Natural Resources is advising that residents remove feeders and clean out birdbaths. For more details on how to properly clean out a birdbath, keep scrolling. We have details about that in our last update, as well as how to properly and safely handle a deceased bird should you encounter one on your property. To learn more visit the official website for the Indiana Department of Natural Resources.

Update 6.29.2021

The Indiana Department of Natural Resources has updated the public with the latest information regarding sick and dying birds across the Hoosier State. The unidentified illness has been found in birds in 40 Indiana counties, including Vanderburgh and Gibson.

The Indiana DNR is urging people to stop feeding birds immediately, removing the feeders altogether and in the newest update, they say this includes hummingbird feeders as well. They say feeding can resume once this "mortality event" has ended.

In addition to removing feeders, the Department of Natural Resources advises that birdbaths be cleaned with a solution of water and 10% bleach. If you encounter a deceased bird, they say to avoid handling it but if it's a situation where you must, do use rubber gloves. The DNR is also urging pet owners to keep their animals away from sick or dead birds as a precaution as well.

At this time, DNR says that "blue jay, American robin, common grackle, starling, northern cardinal, brown-headed cowbird" are the species primarily being affected by the illness. If you find a dead bird, please use the link found here to report it to the Department of Natural Resources.

Originally Published 6.25.2021

The Indiana Department of Natural Resources has issued a statement encouraging Hoosiers to stop feeding birds, for the time being, citing sick and dying birds in fifteen Indiana counties.

The Indiana Department of Natural Resources took to Facebook to recommend that people stop feeding birds. They say that songbirds, including "blue jays, American robins, common grackles, Northern cardinals" and others as well are being reported as sick or dying in the following counties:

  • Clark
  • Delaware
  • Hamilton
  • Jackson
  • Jefferson
  • Johnson
  • LaGrange
  • Lake
  • Marion
  • Monroe
  • Newton
  • St. Joseph
  • Union
  • Washington
  • Whitley.

Samples that have been submitted to the Indiana DNR have been tested for both avian influenza and West Nile virus and those test results came back negative. They say the affected birds are showing "neurological signs of illness as well as eye swelling and crusty discharge."

The Indiana Department of Natural Resources has made the following suggestions,

  • 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.

Indiana is not the only state facing a rash of illness amongst song birds. You may have seen Melissa's article earlier in the week about a similar statement from the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources where they recommended bird feeders be taken down.

[Source: Indiana DNR]

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