Mysterious Illness Impacts Birds in our Region

Mysterious Illness Impacts Birds in our Region

A message from the Prince William Health District:

Mysterious Illness Impacts Birds in our Region

Sick and Deceased Birds across the Northern Virginia Region

  • On Tuesday May 18, 2021, the Northern Region area of Virginia began receiving an increase in the number of calls regarding sick/injured young birds, specifically Grackles and Blue Jays.
  • Eye issues were reported in what otherwise looked like healthy young birds, causing blindness and the birds to land and stay on the ground.
  • The northern Virginia, other agencies and localities across the region and state are reporting similar sightings of sick/injured birds.
  • The Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources, DWR (formerly the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, DGIF) has coordinated testing on a selection of deceased birds through the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources
  • We are awaiting any results that may shed more light on the current situation.
  • At this time, we are asking members of the public to dispose of these birds promptly when found on their property. 

Please remember when disposing of these birds:

  • Wear hand covering (such as gloves), face covering (mask) and avoid any direct contact with the birds
  • 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.
  • Place the sealed bag with gloved hands inside another bag and tie a knot at the top of this bag
  • Dispose of in waste receptacle outside of the home
  • Ensure to use diligent hand washing after you remove the gloves
  • Report any sick or injured birds to your local Animal Control Division 

If a resident finds an injured bird or sick birds on public playgrounds, parks, and fields please promptly call your local Animal Control Division. Prince William County’s Animal Control can be reached at (703) 792-6465 (TTY: 711)

You can also help by reporting any dead birds you find to the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources here.

We appreciate your patience and understanding as we work with State Agencies to better understand why these birds are sick/injured or dying. The public will continue to be notified as more information becomes available.