Dead birds being collected for West Nile testing

PAXTON — The Ford County Public Health Department is asking for assistance from the public in the collection of dead birds found in Ford County. 

Collecting and testing dead birds are important components of the agency’s West Nile virus surveillance program, said Christy Wallace, vector program coordinator.

The health department is collecting dead birds found in the county until Oct. 15.

People who find a dead bird are asked to contact the health department at 217-379-9281.

However, before they submit a dead bird, they should ensure the following criteria are met:

➜ The bird is dead, but the carcass is in good condition. Birds should be dead no more than about 48 hours prior to collection and should not show signs of advanced decomposition (maggots, strong odor, dried or deflated eyes). The bird should be double-bagged and placed in a freezer to preserve it for shipping.

➜ The bird shows no sign it died of causes other than disease. Birds with obvious injuries, such as wounds or missing parts, should not be submitted for testing. Likewise, crushed carcasses and birds found along roadways are not acceptable.

➜ The bird must be one that is acceptable for testing. Some acceptable species are crows, blue jays, grackles, starlings, robins, cardinals, sparrows, finches, hawks and owls. Birds that will not be accepted include pigeons, ducks, geese, chickens, other large birds and endangered species. To help identify the type of bird, people can view pictures at

Residents who find dead birds should double-bag them in plastic bags — plastic bags that seal are the best — and then take them to the Ford County Public Health Department office at 235 N. Taft St. in Paxton. For more information regarding collection of dead birds, contact the health department at 217-379-9281.

Categories (3):News, Miscellaneous, Health
Location (3):Local, Paxton, Ford County


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