Environmental Health
Rodents, Bats, Insects & Other Vectors
West Nile Virus (WNV)
  West Nile Virus and dead birds  

We no longer track or test dead birds for West Nile virus. With several years of experience tracking West Nile Virus, Washington State has found that monitoring mosquitos has been a more reliable indication of West Nile virus activity than tracking or testing dead birds.

More 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. Of those infected, crows, jays, ravens, magpies, and hawks tend to become sick and die.

The Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife does still want to receive reports of dead birds as there are many other causes of bird die-offs. You may report to Fish and Wildlife here: Report Observations of Dead Wildlife.

Photo of a crowPhoto of a ravenSize comparison of raven and crowPhoto of a magpie

Do not handle a dead bird or other dead animal with bare hands. Use a shovel or wear gloves. Dead birds may be double-bagged and placed in your garbage for disposal.

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