Healthy places Environmental health hazards West Nile virus WNV in Oxford County Reporting dead birds

Reporting dead birds


 Oxford County Public Health no longer picks up dead birds for testing.


In 2009, the Government of Ontario ended its West Nile virus dead bird surveillance program. Dead corvids (crows, bluejays) are no longer required as an early indicator of WNV because information collected over the past few years has confirmed when and where the virus will most likely appear.

Ontario will continue to use other indicators, such as mosquito surveillance, to determine the human health risk of WNV in the province. 


How to dispose of dead birds 

The following precautions should be taken:

  • It is unlikely that you will be infected with the West Nile Virus when handling a dead bird
  • Do not touch the birds with your bare hands
  • Ensure that you and your clothing do not contact the bird or its blood, secretions or feces
  • Birds may be handled with heavy-duty leak-proof rubber gloves or a shovel
  • Place the bird inside two plastic bags
  • Ensure that neither the beak or claws puncture the bag or gloves
  • After the bird is appropriately contained, wash your hands thoroughly after removing gloves
  • Dead birds should be buried several feet deep in a place that will not be disturbed, or placed in garbage for pick-up.

West Nile virus Infoline