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Added Sep 19 2012

For those with children and those that walk their dogs: Beware of dead birds around the neighborhood. I'm noticing more and more of them both in the parks and the neighborhood.

  • Are they all the same kind of bird, Scott in Margate Park?

    Wonder if the Park District is aware, if it's a natural thing at this time of year, or if anyone's tested any of them (related to West Nile virus).

    The CDC says to report dead birds to local health authorities:
    Not to be alarmist but there's a number for West Nile at the IL Dept of Health:

  • Margate Park

    All the ones I've seen have been large black birds except for one this morning which might have been a starling?

  • About how many have you seen, do you think? I tend to think it might be good to report since a lot of crows died in the 1999 West Nile epidemic. Might be just a natural thing but maybe the Dept of Health could advise.

  • Margate Park

    About 6 birds over the last 3-4 weeks.

  • Joe Trendl president of Carmen Winona Block Club

    Scott--good morning. In addition to heading the carmen winona block club I am the president of the margate park advisory council--could you tell me where in the park you're seeing the birds---I can direct this the park district to look into-----
    thanks for sharing this info, we'll try and get to the bottom of it

  • The IL Dept of Health says thank you Scott. The man I reached via 217-782-5830 (West Nile contact) referred me to Claudia Blanco (312-746-9026) at Chicago Dept. of Health (reporting goes through local health dept) & I left a message for her.

    Joe Trendl, was just thinking to call the fieldhouse, so very glad you are out there. The IL Dept of Health warned that people should still be wearing mosquito repellant or otherwise protecting themselves from bites because mosquitos & people have tested positive. I think sometimes we forget on the lakefront & the interior of parks along Marine Dr. etc. that there are mosquitos.

  • Barbara in Ravenswood Ravenswood resident since 1984.

    Seems like there may in fact be some kind of epidemic? Other current threads about dead bird sightings, fyi all:

  • Thanks for spotting those, Barbara. I sent them to the address for Ms. Blanco I found online just by way of follow up, as 3 threads in 2 days might be of note.

  • Joe Trendl president of Carmen Winona Block Club

    scott--just wanted to loop back as far as approx location in the park where you have been seeing the dead birds----- the street name that intersects the park will prove helpful
    thanks again,

  • Margate Park

    Between Foster and Lawrence on both sides of LSD.

  • Joe Trendl president of Carmen Winona Block Club


  • Barbara in Ravenswood Ravenswood resident since 1984.
  • Barbara in Ravenswood Ravenswood resident since 1984.
  • Joe Trendl president of Carmen Winona Block Club

    thank you

  • Barbara in Ravenswood Ravenswood resident since 1984.

    you're welcome

  • Ms. Blanco from the Chicago Dept. of Public Health e-mailed today: "We pick and test all birds that are testable. They must be fresh, not too decomposed so that we may test them. We scan 311 daily and pick up and test ASAP."

    Link to 311 here (new features with Open 311 include Service Tracking Numbers so you can track progress on a request):

  • Margate Park

    Thank you. I found another smaller gray fresh dead bird just now by the trees that line the South side of Foster b/w Marine & LSD (entrance). Coincidentally, I noticed HUGE chem trails at sunrise this morning over the same area coming from the west and going out over the lake. It looked like they had been there for hours spreading out wider and wider without appearing to dissipate. It's interesting. I wonder what they're spraying. I'll report this bird now.

  • Margate Park

    OK... 311 site has no option for "bird" under dead animal pickup. It also only let's you put in an address. This is in the park, and there was absolutely nowhere on the form to describe exactly where the bird is. I called 311 and was on hold. I believe there are 7 trees that line that section of Foster's South side. I'm almost certain that the bird is just to the South of the 5th (or center) tree, but I may be off my 1 tree. If someone could email this to Ms. Blanco, that would be great... otherwise, I can try calling 311 again later. It sounds like she might be the best person to tell anyway.

  • Margate Park

    A dead squirrel yesterday near the northeast corner of Margate Playground (on the outside of fence near tree). Also, a dead bird today in the front yard of the building across the street from me (800blk of Ainslie). The neighbors there told me that they have seen alot of dead birds lately as well as a dead racoon.

  • I've had better luck with logging things by calling 311 & reporting over the phone rather than via the online option, so after you pointed out that there was no option for 'bird' in the drop-down 'dead animal roster', I sent in a PDF to show it's missing. Seems kind of key oversight given avian flu & West Nile.

    Also tried to illustrate how the location of places, particularly where there might be wildlife, sometimes cannot be accurately logged with the current online 311 functionality because the allowable address range for input is limited to actual addresses. Good example is north edge of Margate Park along Foster, which doesn't have an address per se.

    Raccoons that lumbered by when I was putting my bike in our basement last night looked very healthy. They were backlit & at my eye level & for a second I wondered if I was in a remake of Night of the Lepus! :)

  • Margate Park

    It's just strange... people like me that walk my dog along the same paths almost every day will notice when something is off. We're also probably looking down more because we're constantly watching to see what our dogs might be attracted to... like dead birds. Anyway... I don't know that there is much more to go on about in this thread except more dead animals, but thanks for your input and help everyone!

  • We can switch to live ones, Scott. This morning I'm pretty sure we can add skunks to our Margate menagerie! :)

  • Margate Park

    I haven't seen a skunk here and I don't want to jinx myself ;)

  • There was one near the southern edge of (residential) Margate/northern edge of Lakeside the other morning, though sleuthing as to exact location was limited for obvious reasons! Did you see the Ravenswood thread with the recipes on it? For things to treat your pup in the event of, of course! :)

  • I've been seeing a lot of dead birds in River North. On Sunday I saw about 15 small brown and white spotted birds (the size of a canary) in front of the Draft FCB building at 101 E Erie St. This morning, in the 100 W and 200 W Block of Huron (North side of the street) I saw two more.

  • I also have been seeing dead birds in Gold Coast and Old Town. Specifically along State and Dearborn. They are smaller birds about the size of canaries and are brown with yellow chests. I just moved to Chicago recently and I have never seen so many dead birds along the sidewalks. I see about 2 new ones a day.

  • Have you, shandra and Melissa M, tried reporting them via calling 311? If so, what was your experience? They just recently started giving service tracking numbers as part of rolling out Open 311 & I'm curious if people find that helpful.

    I wonder if there is anything going on with the reflective windows in some of the areas / around some of the buildings you both mention. Fifteen birds sounds like a flock, for example, by the DraftFCB building (they're moving to the Hancock, I think now, yes?) I know that confusion among birds in flight has been an issue with some windows and in some lighting conditions.

  • I was thinking the same. The issue at 151 E Erie did look like a flock and some issue with a migratory pattern. It's quite possible that it's the reflective glass that's causing an issue. I have not personally called 311 to report the birds, so I can't report back as to how the experience has been. I did follow this link as provided by another user, but I couldn't tell exactly where to go once I got there.

  • Yeah, that other user was me, Melissa M. That link was specifically related to West Nile reporting & finding your local health department for info on that.

    So far the best approach to calling in a dead animal & getting the city to pick it up & to review it if necessary for illness seems to be to call 311 because our local health department indicated that they monitor reports to 311 daily. It's good to have an exact location to tell the 311 operator.

    But the issue with birds hitting reflective glass ... not sure what to do with that. I remember at one time there was a group that was going around regularly to find these birds, rescuing them if possible. Does anyone know if there is still something like that?

  • Barbara in Ravenswood Ravenswood resident since 1984.

    Looking into your question, nkot. I didn't know, myself, but I think I may have found the group you're thinking of, Chicago Bird Collision Monitors (CBCM):

    Feature story about CBCM:

    "It is estimated that between 100,000,000 and 1 billion birds are killed annually in North America by collisions with buildings – primarily by collisions with windows."
    This site is based in Wisconsin but there's a good summary of issues, with recommended actions:

    The Chicago Audubon Society has a "Lights Out" program to encourage high rise buildings to turn off/modify their lighting at night:

    Per the Audubon Society's page, it looks like the Lights Out program is currently co-sponsored by the "Mayor’s Nature and Wildlife Committee". Originally, the program was (maybe still is) "a cooperative effort between the City of Chicago, the Building Owners and Managers Association of Chicago, Audubon and the Field Museum."

    It seems that the Lights Out program was originally co-sponsored by the City of Chicago's Department of Environment -- which was eliminated as a cost-cutting measure after Rahm Emanuel took office.

    A couple of side notes: 1) a site of possible interest re: lighting:
    Illinois Coalition for Responsible Outdoor Lighting; 2) City of Chicago Bird-Safe Building / Design Guide for New Construction & Renovation:

  • Those links are great, Barbara. CBCM is the group I was thinking of, I'm pretty sure. Wonder if they found the flock Melissa saw at 151 E. Erie, or would be interested to know of them? Such a pity. Perhaps something needs to be done with the lighting or ? in that building to avert similar future mass crashes.

    I'd been trying to find something like that Chicago Bird Building Design Guide, so thanks a lot for that. All the better that it was put out by the city. One of several reasons the high-rise designs planned last year for the northwest corner of Clarendon & Montrose concerned me greatly is that the site is extremely close to the bird sanctuaries at Montrose Harbor & Irving Park. The surrounding area is mostly quite low (38-foot 3-flats) & there is nothing very high or heavily glazed anywhere in the western sky as you look from Cricket Hill at Montrose Harbor.

    The number of birds coming through and/or living in the areas just west of the lakefront and along the lake at these points is pretty amazing. Last Sunday afternoon there was a high-flying drama all over Lakeside (near Weiss Hospital) when what appeared to be a red-tailed hawk was hounded all over the sky by 7 crows. It went on for a good 10 minutes & was remarkable to watch. The bird of prey looked a lot like this bird:

  • Barbara in Ravenswood Ravenswood resident since 1984.

    That’s a magnificent bird in the photo, nkot. Would be intense to see one like that tangling with a group of crows. How did the encounter turn out? Crows recently observed in fighting form would seem to refute the notion that West Nile has returned to the area. (I hope it has not.) I just read that the oldest (captive) crow lived to the age of 59 -- wow!

    Oh, and nkot, if you’re looking for bird-safe building guidelines, I ran across these as well :)

    Audubon Minnesota

    NYC Audubon

    Portland, Oregon

    San Francisco


    American Bird Conservancy

  • Wow, Barbara, those are such helpful links. Thanks so much! It's kind of reassuring to realize that there's so much info out there.

    I couldn't track the end of the crow-hawk encounter, because the crows drove the hawk far south out of my view, but it did seem as though they were "winning" because the hawk couldn't really soar. I've seen a lot of crows this year, starting in August. There's a high tree near me where they like to hang out & boss the neighborhood around.

  • Barbara in Ravenswood Ravenswood resident since 1984.

    You’re welcome, nkot. Yes, I agree the material seems reassuring. I imagined you’d already seen much of it, but I’d taken notes while googling so I had links all ready to post!

    On a side note.... a *way* side note (I know I’m going a bit far afield again...:) as I was adding those links to my comment last night, the internet radio station I was listening to played a song called “Hawk vs. Crow” by a band called The Union Trade. I’d never heard it before. As a big fan of synchronicity, I can’t resist sharing this here. I found the song on YouTube. It’s an instrumental and there’s not much to it -- but here it is, to complete the vignette:

  • Barbara in Ravenswood Ravenswood resident since 1984.

    Borrowed from another thread:

    [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!

  • Barbara in Ravenswood Ravenswood resident since 1984.

    I had overlooked the other info & pages on this bird collision-prevention site:

  • Barbara in Ravenswood Ravenswood resident since 1984.

    Sharing from another EB bird thread: resource guide for bird issues* (and concerns about some other animals) – from Flint Creek Wildlife Rehab (apparently the only wildlife rehabilitation center in the city) which is located at Northerly Island:

    *issues covered:
    Birds Frequently Collide with My Windows
    I Cut Down a Tree and There Were Baby Birds
    I Found a Baby Bird
    I Found a Bird Caught in Fishing Line
    I Found a Bird that Hit a Window
    I Found a Bird’s Nest that Fell
    I Found an Animal in My Window Well
    There is a Green Parrot in My Tree

    (thanks to Jill's Lake View post)

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