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A bird mystery: VA officials working to discover why birds are dying in numbers

Sick and deceased young birds across Northern Virginia

The Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources, DWR (formerly the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, DGIF) is coordinating testing on a selection of deceased birds after the Northern Region area of Virginia began receiving an increase in the number of calls starting May 18 about sick/injured young birds, specifically Grackles and Blue Jays.

Eye issues have reported in what otherwise looked like healthy young birds, causing blindness and the birds to land and stay on the ground.

Other agencies and localities across the region and state are reporting similar sightings of sick/injured birds, according to a DWR news release.


At this time, DWR is asking the public to dispose of these birds promptly when found on their property. Please remember when disposing of these birds:

1. Wear hand covering (such as gloves), face covering (mask) and avoid any direct contact with the birds

2. Consider picking up the birds using the same method you would for pet waste. Invert a bag over your hand, pick up the bird, and then pull the bag over the bird, double bag and tying with a knot at the top before disposal.

3. Place the sealed bag with gloved hands inside another bag and tie a knot at the top of this bag

4. Dispose of in waste receptacle outside of the home

5. Use diligent hand washing after you remove the gloves

6. Report any sick or injured birds to your local Animal Control Division

7. If you find an injured bird or sick birds on public playgrounds, parks, and fields please promptly call your local Animal Control office.

The public will continue to be notified as more information becomes available.

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