Dozens of dead birds pop up in Buckeye neighborhood

Posted at 10:52 PM, Aug 14, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-16 00:59:17-04

Dozens of birds have turned up dead in one Buckeye neighborhood, and community members are puzzled. 

It's advised you don't touch dead animals with your bare hands. 

Most of the time, you'll be asked to dispose of the animal yourself if you want to get rid of a dead bird you found. 

"We see these dove mortalities just about every summer," Anne Justice-Allen, a veterinarian with the Arizona Game and Fish Department, said. "It's been our experience that these doves are suffering from a viral infection, the virus affects their nervous system and respiratory system, it's transmitted from bird to bird by close contact."

Another big cause of bird deaths game and fish officials see is caused from contaminated bird feeders and bird baths. They can be a breeding ground for all types of bacteria, including a parasite known as canker.

"It's a parasite that affects their throat and causes a lot of swelling in the throat so the birds can't eat, they basically starve themselves to death," said Justice-Allen.

She recommends people wash their bird feeders and watering vessels at least once a week with soap and water, then rinsing those items with diluted bleach, one cup per gallon, and followed by another rinsing with clean water.

Wildlife experts said this virus and parasite were not known to affect humans or household pets.

If you see dead birds, do not touch them with your bare hands. Game and fish officials recommend raking or shoveling them into a bag, then putting them in the trash.

But, in cases like the one in Buckeye, you can call the USDA. They have a department dedicated to this. Contact them by calling 1-866-4USDAWS.