Beginning on Tuesday, May 18th, 2021, the Animal Welfare League of Arlington (AWLA) began receiving an increase in the number of calls regarding sick/injured juvenile birds, specifically Grackles and Blue Jays. Eye issues were reported in what otherwise looked like healthy juvenile birds, causing blindness and the birds to land and stay on the ground. Animal Control is now seeing additional species of birds affected. Other agencies and localities across the region and state are reporting similar issues at this time.
The Animal Control team promptly reached out to the regional biologist with the VA Department of Wildlife Resources, DWR (formerly the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, DGIF), and has coordinated testing on a selection of these deceased birds through the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources. We await 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) and avoid 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, tying with a knot at the top before disposal.
- Dispose of in waste receptacle outside of the home.
- Ensure to use diligent hand washing after disposal.
- Report deceased birds here.
If a resident finds injured or deceased birds on public playgrounds, parks, and fields, please call Arlington County Animal Control promptly at 703-931-9241. We appreciate your patience and understanding as we work with State Agencies to better understand and address this issue.