Reporting Dead Birds

If you see a sick or dead bird, call 609-465-1209. Only a sample of dad crows and blue jays that meet specific criteria will be picked up and tested.

West Nile Virus Surveillance
Between mid-April and mid-August of each year, the Health Department asks Cape May County residents and visitors to participate in West Nile Virus surveillance by reporting sightings of dead crows and blue jays. Only a sample of dead crows and blue jays that meet specific criteria will be picked up and tested for the West Nile Virus. However, your report of a dead bird is extremely important to us because dead bird reports allow the Department of Mosquito Control to better target mosquito control efforts.
Crow standing in grass
Dead bird sightings can be reported to the Department of Health, by calling 609-465-1209, Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 pm. After-hours sightings should be reported the following day, while weekend sightings should be reported the following Monday. Dead bird sights can also be reported online using the county service request form.
Handling Dead Birds
There is currently no evidence that West Nile Virus can be spread directly from birds to people. However, dead birds can carry a variety of diseases and, therefore, should never be handled with bare hands. It is important to protect your skin, eyes, nose, and mouth from coming into contact with a dead bird.

If you wish to preserve possible bird samples, use plastic or latex gloves to carefully place the bird in a clear, plastic, zip-lock bag. The bird should then be refrigerated in a cooler not located with food. If the bird has been in your possession for longer than 48 hours, dispose of the bird.

Blue Jay

Blue jay perched on tree branch
To dispose of a dead bird, use plastic or latex gloves to carefully place it in a double plastic bag. Or you may use a doubled plastic bag as a glove to pick up the bird. Then wrap the bird in the bag, tie it off and place it in the outdoor trash. Wash your hands with soap and water when finished.

If the bird is in a wet environment or in other situations in which splashing is likely to occur during disposal, you can wear safety goggles or glasses and a surgical mask to protect your eyes, nose, and mouth against splashes. Disinfect or discard gloves and any other protective material when you are finished. Don’t touch your eyes, nose, or mouth and wash your hands immediately with soap and water!

It is very important that birds are identified correctly for submission. View more information and pictures.