The Vector Control Program collects and tests dead corvids such as crows, ravens and jays; and raptors such as hawks, falcons and owls for the presence of West Nile virus, which can be transmitted to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito. These birds are susceptible to West Nile virus and are good indicators that the disease may be present in the community. Residents are encouraged to report dead birds to Vector Control for testing. Disease surveillance and early detection of vector-borne disease helps to protect public health and make neighborhoods healthy places to live, work and play.
If you find a dead bird, please notify our office immediately at (858) 694-2888, or firstname.lastname@example.org to alert vector staff for bird collection.
If you are reporting a dead bird during the weekend or on a holiday, please call Station M at (858) 565-5255.
Criteria for Collecting Dead Birds for Testing
The bird must be dead for less than 24 hours. If you are not sure if the bird you have found is less than 24 hours old, look for the following clues:
1. The bird should not be stiff.
2. There should be no ants or flies covering the bird.
3. The bird should not have a foul odor.
4. The bird should be intact.
a. No missing body parts.
b. No physical injuries.
c. Eyeballs must be intact (disease testing requires bird eye fluid).
DO NOT FREEZE THE BIRD.
Safe Handling of Dead Birds
Use caution if you must handle a dead bird:
Do not touch dead birds with your bare hands.
Wear gloves or use a shovel to pick the bird up.
Wear protective eyewear to prevent bird fluids from being splashed into your eyes when the bird is wet, large or covered with feces.
Do not eat or smoke while handling the bird.
Double bag the dead bird by placing it into one plastic bag and then placing that bag into another plastic bag.
Wash your hands with soap and warm water IMMEDIATELY after handling the bird.