Environmental Health
Rodents, Bats, Insects & Other Vectors
West Nile Virus (WNV)
  dead bird reporting & testing  

Photo of a blue jayMore than 200 species of birds, including songbirds, hawks, owls, eagles, waterfowl, woodpeckers and hummingbirds, have tested positive for West Nile virus in the United States. At least 77 of those species are found in Washington. Corvids (ravens, crows, jays, magpies, etc.) are the group most commonly affected by the virus.

The Thurston County Health Department is currently seeking information from citizens about the location, species and numbers of dead birds in Thurston County. We are using that information as part of our overall West Nile Virus response plan.

Photo of a crowWe are also working with Washington State University to provide West Nile Virus testing for a select group of birds which are known carriers of WNV. We are particularly interested in birds that are part of the Corvid family (crows, ravens, bluejays, and magpies) and Raptors (hawks, falcons, and eagles).

If you see a dead bird, especially like the ones pictured on this page, please report it through the WA Dept of Health Online Dead Bird Reporting Form. If you do not have internet access, you may report the dead bird by calling our message line at 360-867-2666.

Photo of a ravenWhen reporting let us know the location where the bird was found, the species of the bird, and the number of birds observed. Also leave your name and a telephone number if we need to obtain additional information from you. In some cases, we may want to test a dead bird.

Size comparison of raven and crowCrows, ravens, or blue jays may be tested, if we collect the birds within 48 hours and they are intact (not scavenged). If the carcass has an off odor, is soft and mushy, has skin discoloration, feathers or skin that easily rubs off, or has maggots present, it is too decomposed for testing. For additional pictures and descriptions, see Wild Birds That Typically Host The WNV, USGA National Wildlife Center.

Photo of a magpieDo not handle a dead bird with bare hands. Use a shovel or wear gloves to double bag it in plastic bags. If the bird you find is not appropriate for testing, you may dispose of it in your garbage. If you have any additional questions, call Environmental Health at 360-867-2667.

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This page last updated: 08/05/13