"I hope you love birds too. It is economical. It saves going to heaven."
Emily Dickinson

Monday, August 27, 2012

How to report a dead bird or squirrel

 The California Department of Public Health has reported that 855 birds in 29 counties have tested positive for the West Nile Virus to date.  Although your risk of contracting the virus from a dead bird is low to non-existent, it is best to be cautious around a dead animal.   If you find a dead bird or squirrel, follow the instructions on this short video for picking it up.  Then call the dead bird hotline at 877-WNV-BIRD (877-968-2473).  They will determine whether the bird will need to be tested.  All dead bird reports are valuable in tracking the virus.

There is no reason to be concerned that feeding birds in your back yard will increase your risk of exposure to the West Nile Virus.  No evidence of bird-to-person transmission has been reported. 

West Nile virus is transmitted by mosquitoes, which contract the virus from infected birds then pass the disease to humans. Crows seem to be one of the most commonly infected bird species, and the virus is particularly deadly to them. Often the first harbinger that West Nile is entering an area is an increase in the number of dead birds, especially crows, who have been infected with the disease. CDC along with state and local health officials monitor the number of infected birds carefully.

Because mosquitoes spread the disease, it is important to eliminate places where they breed.  Change the water in your birdbaths daily and empty any standing water in flowerpots, pool covers and clogged rain gutters that may host mosquito larvae. 



  1. I've been watching a young Red-shouldered Hawk grow into maturity this year and I was unlucky enough to come upon it's dead body this afternoon. Animal Control picked it up and said it was probably West Nile Virus and because of the large numbers it would probably not even be tested. Soooo....sad.

  2. That is very sad. I'll keep an eye on the numbers. Thanks for your comment.