I live in North Center, and yesterday my husband said he saw a bright yellow bird in the tree in front of our house. He thought maybe it was someone's pet parakeet that had gotten out. I wonder where these birds are coming from.
West Nile Virus. That's what happened when we were hit really bad with it for the first time a decade ago. Back then, they wanted dead birds reported, but forgot where, and don't know if they're keeping up with dead bird reports now.
Next time see a dead bird, call the regional West Nile Hotline at: 866-369-9710. Option 1 is to report dead birds. Note that they only examine certain types of birds and that they don't examine birds that have been dead for more than 2 days or that show signs of decay.
@Brooks: your thread is linked in Katie's article:
[posted by] Katie hey everybody, I work for Chicago Wildlife News and I've been looking into this issue over the last few weeks. According to city data, there has been an increase in the number of dead birds. From all of the experts I spoke to, it seems as if the best explanation is that there are more bird collisions now because we are in the heart of fall migration. Here is a link to the article, and let me know if you have any questions. Feel free to reach out at any time if you have any other observations! http://www.chicagowildlifenews.com/?p=485
Again, it is the same as it was when West NIle Virus first hit a decade ago, and this year was the worst since then. So, they can ignore it if they chose and say oh, they're just flying into each other more now - but I will wager that it is West Nile Virus because it's the worst year for that since the first year and the first year we had dead birds lying all over the place. So, I'm sticking with West NIle Virus.
Definitely a lot of migratory birds hit windows and die, but there has been a larger number of dead birds than usual this year coinciding with a worse than normal outbreak of West Nile Virus. I've even found several Sparrows around my building dead and you only see one every few years - not several within a two week period. And, they seldom fly into windows, as they live here year around. And, I found them a distance away from windows. So, that is why I attribute the increase to West Nile. Unfortunately, the news is reporting tonight that one of our firefighters has died from it. So sad.
Very sad, indeed. But, even if they suspect that the fireman was bitten in Wisconsin, anyone in Chicago stands a chance to be bitten by a West Nile carrying mosquito so it's best to take precautions - because, even though most won't even get sick or die from it - and even though most who do get sick and die have compromised immune systems (but, not always) - we don't know which category we'd fit into - so precaustions are necessary.
I remember when we were first hit by it and all of the birds died out at my community garden at North Park Village (that was one of the hardest hit areas in Chicago), and all of the gardeners changed their habits - we didn't come at daybreak and we left before dusk, we wore light colors and long sleeves (a little hard in summer), and we sprayed ourselves. West Nile completely changed a way of life. We were scared, for sure.
I remember trying to report birds other than Blue Jays and Crows back then, and was told that they were only picking up and counting specific types of birds, even though they knew others likely died from it, too (like the Sparrow). Even so, most people just picked up the dead birds and threw them in the trash and didn't try to report it. So, it's really hard to get an accurate count when it comes to the birds. I guess that’s why the City uses mosquito traps now to try to guage the problem areas.
There's always a huge increase in birds deaths during fall and spring migration, which has been at it's peak. Learn more about it at the Chicago Bird Collision Monitors website: http://www.birdmonitors.net/