Dead birds in an area may mean that West Nile virus is circulating between the birds
and the mosquitoes in that area. Over 110 species of birds are known to have been
infected with West Nile virus.
The Division of Environmental Health Vector Program in association with the Arizona
Department of Health Services, has established a dead bird reporting program. Criteria
for the submission of a dead bird for WNV testing are as follows:
- Is the carcass intact and fresh? (dead less than 24 hours)
A good indicator that the bird has been dead less than 24 hours is that the neck
is still moveable from the body and the eye balls are still present.
If the carcass has an odor, is soft and mushy, has skin discoloration, feathers
or skin easily rubs off or has maggots or ants, it will not be accepted.
- Is the bird an adult?
Is the bird a baby or young, the chance of the bird being infected with WNV is very
remote. We are not accepting baby or young birds at this time.
- Is the bird the only one to have died in the past few days?
Multiple birds found dead in close proximity to each other is more likely from pesticide
poisoning, than WNV.
- What species of bird?
No doves, pigeons, or chickens are being accepted
To submit a dead bird for WNV testing, please call the Environmental Health office
Monday thru Friday 7:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at (520)866-6559.
You will be asked to pick-up the bird using an inverted plastic bag and move it
to a cool location out of the sun. Placing the bird in the refrigerator or on an
ice pack would be helpful and greatly improve the viability of the specimen. Do
not freeze the bird (if the bird has been frozen at any time it will no longer be
viable for testing).