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Dead bird collection

Environmental health professionals will collect dead birds during the summer of 2006 to monitor for the presence of West Nile Virus in Cass County, but only certain birds are targeted for pickup. The Fargo Cass Public Health (FCPH) team wants dead birds that meet all of the following criteria:

  • Birds from the corvid or raptor families: these include crows, ravens, magpies, blue jays, and any type of hawk, owl, eagle, or falcon
  • Birds that have been dead for less than 48 hours
  • Birds that shown no signs of decomposition
  • Birds whose cause of death is not obvious

If you discover a bird that meets all of these criteria, please contact the Environmental
Health division of FCPH at 476-6729. Its best to leave the bird where it is, but if you can't, avoid touching the animal with bare hands. Instead, use a plastic bag to pick it up and store it in a safe place. While West Nile Virus cannot be transmitted through contact with an infected animal, dead birds present other concerns, such as fleas and bacteria.

If you find a bird that does not meet all of the criteria above, you can report it online at www.ndwnv.com or call 476-6729. The bird will not be picked up for testing, but your information will be collected for the North Dakota Department of Health.

The state and local health departments are focusing on raptor and corvid birds because these birds are most susceptible to dying from West Nile Virus. Due to staffing limitations, the departments are unable to collect all dead birds reported, so narrowing their focus to specific species improves the effectiveness of collection and testing.