Dead or dying wild birds

Updated 16 Jan 2021, 1730hrs

New reports of bird deaths that have come to our notice in the last 24 hrs:
  waterfowl in Pong Ddam (HP), crows and other birds in Mumbai, crows and pigeons in Thane (MH), crows in Indore (MP), peafowl in Fatehpur and Jalaun (UP). Note that the actual incidents may have taken place earlier, and that the deaths are not necessarily due to avian influenza. Details in the listing below.

 

Over the past two weeks there have been reports of wild birds dying in separate incidents at different locations in the country. That wild birds die is not necessarily worrying. But it is possible that some of these recent deaths are out of the ordinary, with large numbers dying or reports of diagnoses of H5N1 (avian influenza). At the moment, no-one knows whether these are causes of larger concern, but it is worth keeping an eye on the situation.

 

NEW: TV Interviews/commentary clips on the recent events

  • 2021-01-08: The Print: All about bird flu and Influenza A virus (Youtube)
  • 2021-01-06: NDTV: Bird Flu’s Effect on Humans: All you need to know (Youtube).
  • 2021-01-05: Mirror Now: interview with Dr Able Lawrence (Twitter)
  • 2021-01-05: Navodaya Times: interview with Dr Gopi Sundar (Facebook)

 

What to do if you encounter dead/dying birds

Because birdwatchers are frequently out in the field, we can play an important part in detecting and reporting wild birds that are dead or dying. However, depending on the cause of illness/death, it can be very dangerous to approach or handle dead/dying birds.

We will periodically expand this article to include more details, but for now, please follow these safety protocols if you come across a wild bird that is dead or dying.

If you encounter a wild bird that is dead or dying, do not approach it, and under any circumstances do not touch it given the possibility (however small) that it might be infected with avian influenza. H5N1 is a highly contagious virus that can cause severe illness in people, and dead/dying birds should be handled only by trained veterinary personnel wearing appropriate protective gear.

The first thing to do is to contact your local government veterinary, animal husbandry or health department to report the finding. There is also a network of Virus Research Diagnostic Laboratories under ICMR: find the one closest to you and drop them an email to see if they will come and collect a sample. NEW: see the letter dated 3 Jan 2021 from the Ministry of Environment Forests and Climate Change to all Chief Wildlife Wardens, with subject “Enhancing steps for control of death of birds” (pdf).

For more details on Avian Influenza, see the following FAO publications:

  • Introduction to field research and disease sampling: FAO (2007) Wild Birds and Avian Influenza (pdf).
  • Symptoms and best practices for veterinary personnel and sample collection guidelines: FAO (2006) Wild Bird Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza Surveillance (pdf).

There is also a chapter on Bird Mortality and Disease Surveillance (pdf) in the BNHS’s Bird Migration Studies training manual.

NEW: A very detailed Action Plan for Prevention, Control and Containment of Avian Influenza (revised 2021; pdf), from the Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying.

 

List of Reports

Below is a list of reports of dead/dying birds in India from Dec 2020 onwards. You can help us keep this list updated by letting us know of (1) additional news reports or (2) your own observations.

Please email the following information to [email protected], or post in the comments below:

  1. For news reports or reports on social media
    Please send a link to the article, or a screenshot/clipping. Please ensure that the source (eg newspaper name) and date of publication is visible.
  2. For your own observations
    Please observe through binoculars from a safe distance.
    Please email: Location (locality, district, state); Date of observation; Number of birds affected, including species; Description, including any observations of unusual behaviour, injury etc; Any photos of the birds. It would be ideal if you can upload an eBird list with all the details listed here, and send us the link.

ALL INDIA / MULTIPLE STATES

2021-01-12. Bird flu: how are different states tackling the outbreak (Mint).
2021-01-11. Centre confirms spread of bird flu in 10 States (UNI)
2021-01-10. 1200 birds found dead across India on 9 Jan (Business Standard, India Today, First Post).
2021-01-08. Bird flu scare widens (India Today), Bird flu in 5 states (Mint); MoEF sends guidelines (Babushahi).
2021-01-07. What is bird flu? (Indian Express)
2021-01-06. Centre asks States to form monitoring panels (Hindustan Times). India to cull poultry (BBC)
2021-01-05. Dainik Bhaskar (Hindi, clipping); Hindustan Times; Hindustan Times (more recent); Mint.
2021-01-04. The Logical Indian; News18; Business Today. Circular from the Central Zoo Authority: Preparedness of Zoos to prevent ingress of Avian Influenza (pdf).
2021-01-03. Letter from the Ministry of Environment, Forests & Climate Change to all Chief Wildlife Wardens, with subject “Enhancing steps for control of death of birds” (pdf).

 

CHANDIGARH

Date of incident: 7 Jan 2021. Description: 4 more birds found dead. Cause: unknown. Source: Tribune (7 Jan).
Date of incident: 5-6 Jan 2021. Description: 5 birds, including a coot and a crow, found dead. Cause: unknown. Source: Tribune (7 Jan), NDTV (6 Jan), Hindustan Times (5 Jan)

 

CHHATTISGARH

Balod
Date of incident: 6 Jan 2021. Description: 4 crows found dead. Cause: unknown. Source: Just36news (Hindi, 7 Jan); Hindustan Times (7 Jan).

 

DELHI

Various locations
Date of incidents: 7-8 Jan 2021. Description: over 35 crows found dead across multiple locations. Cause: Samples of two crows from Dwarka positive for bird flu (strain unspecified: India Today, 11 Jan). Source: Times of India (9 Jan); India TV News (9 Jan); The Print (8 Jan); NDTV (8 Jan).

Sanjay Lake Delhi
Date of incident: 7-9 Jan 2021. Description: 10 ‘ducks’ founds dead (domestic or wild is unspecified). Cause: unknown. Source: Republic World (10 Jan).

Yamuna Khadar, Delhi
Date of incident: 2 Jan 2021. Description: 2 Ruddy Shelduck found dead. Cause: unknown. Source: eBird list

 

GUJARAT

2021-01-08: Gujarat steps up vigil. Times of India (link)

Vadodara
Date of incident: unclear. Description: Unknown number of crows found dead. Cause: Samples from 5 crows positive for avian influenza (strain unspecified). Source: Times of India (12 Jan)

Mehsana
Date of incident: 7 Jan 2021. Description: 4 crows found dead. Cause: unknown. Source: Hindustan Times (7 Jan); Times of India (7 Jan).

Surat
Date of incident: 6 Jan 2021. Description: 4 ‘crow-like’ birds found dead. Cause: unknown. Source: NDTV (6 Jan)

Junagadh

Date of incident: 8/9 Jan 2021. Description: 4 crows found dead. Cause: unknown. Source: One India (9 Jan).

Date of incident: 3 Jan 2021. Description: 2 lapwings found ill, both subsequently died. Cause: confirmed as ‘bird flu’ (strain not specified) on 8 Jan. Source: Times of India (9 Jan); Republic World (8 Jan).

Date of incident: 2 Jan 2021. Description: 53 birds found dead, including 46 lapwings. Cause: Poisoning?
2021-01-05: Forest department says poisoning, not bird flu, is the likely cause (Times of India)
2021-01-04: Ahmedabad Mirror (clipping); Indian Express (link)

 

HARYANA

2020-01-09: Four lakh chickens culled in Haryana (Times of India)
2020-01-07: Poultry deaths (Indian Express)
2020-01-03: Over 1 lakh domestic chickens die in Panchkula poultry farms, cause unknown (Indian Express; Hindustan Times)

 

HIMACHAL PRADESH

500 poultry chickens dead: Outlook (6 Jan).

Pong Dam, Kangra

2021-01-15. 38 further dead birds on 15 Jan, total toll: 4,874. Source: Indian Express.

2021-01-14: 94 more dead birds on 14 Jan, total toll 4,836. Source: UNI.

2021-01-13: An additional 105 waterfowl found on 13 Jan, total toll 4,742. Source: UNI.

2021-01-10: An additional 318 dead birds found on 9 Jan, total toll: 4,020. Source: Siasat.

2021-01-08: Total dead now 3,702; mortality declining. Source: UNI.

2021-01-07: Total dead now 3,410; bird may have started dying two months ago. Source: Tribune.

2021-01-05: Toll touches 2,700, WII scientists to prepare report: Tribune.

2021-01-04: Times of India (clipping); Samachar First (Hindi); NDTV; Amar Ujala (Hindi); India Today.
UPDATE 2021-01-04: H5N1 confirmed in all five of the BH Goose samples sent to NIHSAD, Bhopal [see lab report] and total death toll rises to over 2,400 birds (Siasat Daily). There have been further orders today from the District Magistrate Kangra (pdf).

Date of incident: 28 Dec 2020 – 1 Jan 2021.
Description: Over 1,000 birds found dead, mostly Bar-headed Geese.
Cause: unknown, poisoning is tentatively ruled out; samples sent to NIHSAD Bhopal. See update below.
Source: Indian Express; IANS (via Times Now News; Tribune India; Business Standard; daijiworld.com); Hindustan Times; India Today; Zee News. See also 22 Dec eBird list. See also: Order from Office of District Magistrate Kangra on 1 Jan 2021, creating Alert and Surveillance zones, and prohibiting  activities (pdf).

Bilaspur
Date of incident: 6 Jan 2021. Description: 50 crows found dead. Cause: unknown. Source: Tribune (6 Jan)

 

JHARKHAND

2021-01-05. No cases yet, but Jharkhand issues alert on bird flu (Telegraph).

Dumka
2021-01-05-10 (date unspecified). “Large number” of mynas and other birds found dead. Cause: unknown. Source: Times of India.

 

JAMMU AND KASHMIR

2021-01-06. J&K issues advisory (UNI).

Udhampur
Date of incident: 7 Jan 2021. Description: 150 crows found dead. Cause: unknown. Source: India Today (7 Jan).

 

KARNATAKA

Dakshina Kannada
Date of incident: 10 Jan 2021: 3 crows found dead in Mangalore. Cause: unknown. Source: UNI (11 Jan).
Date of incident: 7 Jan 2021: 6 crows found dead. Cause: unknown. Source: One India (7 Jan).

Magadi Lake, Gadag
Date of incident: 7 Jan 2021.Description: one Bar-headed Goose found dead. Cause: unknown. Source: eBird link (7 Jan).

Kokkarebellur, Mandya
Date of incident: 7 Dec 2020 to 7 Jan 2021. Description: 6 Spot-billed Pelicans found dead. Cause: Gut parasites suspected. Source: The Hans India (7 Jan).

Sonnapura, Chikkaballapura
Date of incident: 7 Jan 2021. Description: Green-winged Teal (1 dead), Black-winged Stilt (2 dead, 1 ill), Red-wattled Lapwing (1 ill). Cause: unknown. Source: eBird link (7 Jan).

Date of incident: 19-27 Dec 2020. Description: 19 December: 2 dead Spot-billed Pelican, 1 dead Black-crowned Night Heron;  23 Dec: 1 sick Pelican, remains of 1 Little Stint and 1 Northern Shoveler; 27 Dec: 2 more dead Pelicans. Cause: unknown. Sources: 19 Dec (eBird link), 23 Dec (eBird link), 27 Dec (eBird link)

 

KERALA

Deaths of 12,000 domestic ducks from 19 Dec onwards; H5N8 confirmed. Source: Business Line; The Hindu; India.com.

 

MADHYA PRADESH

Hoshangabad
Date of incidents: 1-7 Jan 2020. Description: 5 birds found dead during this period. Cause: unknown. Source: Twitter (link)

Ratlam
Date of incident: 7 Jan 2020. Description: 12 crows found dead. Cause: unknown. Source: e Khabar Today (Hindi, link).

Mandsaur
Date of incident: 30 Dec 2020. Description: Unknown number of crows (more than 100 in one week’s period). Cause: unknown, postmortem reports are awaited. Mint says H5N8 confirmed. Sources: Mandsaur Darshan (Hindi, clipping); India Today (2021-01-04, link)

Indore
Date of incident: 12 Jan 2021. Description: 17 birds found dead, including 10 crows. Cause: unknown. Source: Times of India (13 Jan).
Date of incident: 29 Dec 2020 – 1 Jan 2021. Description: 50 crows found dead. Cause: diagnosis of H5 (avian flu) in two of the 50 birds. Mint says H5N8. Source: Dainik Bhaskar, Indore edition (Hindi, clipping).

 

MAHARASHTRA

2021-01-15. 47 wild birds, 331 poultry found dead on 14 Jan. Overall 12 birds positive for avian flu (strain unspecified) in the State. Source: Indian Express.
2021-01-14. 1 crow (Gondia) positive for H5, other birds in Yavatmal and Nagpur negative. Source: Times of India.
2021-01-12. Mumbai civic body issues guidelines, helpline. Source: Mint; CNBCTV18.
2021-01-10. Over 1,000 poultry die in the previous 2 days. Source: Times of Idia.

Mumbai
Date of incidents: 12 Jan 2021. Description: 55 ‘complaints’ of bird deaths, mostly crows. Cause: unknown. Source: Times of India (12 Jan).

Pune
Date of incident: 8 Jan 2021; Description: 2 dead egrets; Cause: unknown; Source: eBird link.

Thane
Date of incident: 7-14 Jan 2021. Over 120 birds found dead over the week. Cause: unknown. Source: Hindustan Times (15Jan).
Date of incident: 6 Jan 2021. Description: 16 birds (likely all feral pigeons) found dead. Cause: unknown. Source: Mumbai Mirror (link)

Mamlade, Jalgaon
Date of incident: 1 Jan 2021. Description: Single birds of three species found dead. Cause: unknown. Source: eBird link

 

MEGHALAYA

2021-01-07. Meghalaya on alert for bird flu: advisory issued. Source: ANI (link)

 

RAJASTHAN

Chief Minister tweets alert and helpling number: Twitter (9 Jan)
Chief Minister urges vigilance: DNA (6 Jan)
See order of the Chief Wildlife Warden of the state in relation to avian influenza, dated 31-12-2020 (pdf)

General reports
2021-01-12: 626 birds found dead on 12 Jan, total now 3,947. Source: Times of India (13 Jan).
2021-01-11: 371 birds found dead on 10 Jan, total now 3,321. Source: News18.
2021-01-11: Number of dead birds so far 2,950, of which 2,200 are crows. Source: ANI.
2021-01-09: 356 crows and other birds found dead on 9 Jan. Overall, 45 samples positive for ‘bird flu’ (strain unspecified) (Times of India).
2021-01-08: 375 crows and other birds found dead on 7 Jan (Times of India)
2021-01-07: Additional reports of crow deaths from Phalodi, Setrawa, and Lodta Ramsar (Dainik Bhaskar, Jodhpur ed, Hindi: link, clipping). Reports of 7 weaverbird deaths (see below).
2021-01-06: Cases of bird flu in Sawai Madhopur (ed: details unclear) (NDTV)
2021-01-05: Total wild birds deaths 522 (Times of India); 170 new deaths (Indian Express)
2021-01-04: Indian Express; Times of India Jaipur edn (clipping); NDTV.
2021-01-03: NDTV; Hindustan Times.
2021-01-02: Free Press Journal; Hindustan Times; India Today.

Baran
Date of incidents: 5 Jan 2021. Description: 50 birds found dead, including crows and pigeons. Cause: unknown. Source: Mumbai Mirror (5 Jan)

Chittaurgarh
Date of incidents: 6 Jan 2021. Description: 31, 15, and 3 crows found dead in different locations. Cause: unknown. Source: Dainik Bhaskar, Chittaurgarh ed (Hindi, clipping)

Banswada
Date of incident: Jan 2021. Description: 7 weaverbirds found dead. Cause: unknown; samples sent for analysis. Source: Dainik Bhaskar, Banswada ed (Hindi, clipping)

Jaisalmer
Date of incident: 7 Jan 2021; 9 crows dead, cause unknown. Source: Times of India, 2021-01-08 (link)

Date of incident: 4 Jan 2021? Description: crows found dead. Cause: unknown; samples collected. Source: Times of India (link)

Jaipur
Date of incident: 3 Jan 2021. Description: 15 crows found dead, 5 ill. Cause: unknown; samples sent for testing. Source: Rajasthan Patrika (HIndi, clipping)

Jhalawar
Date of incident: 25 Dec 2020. Description: Unknown number of crows found dead. Cause: 5 crows found positive for H5  [see lab report]. Source: Hindustan Times; India TV via dailyhunt.in.

Nagaur
Date of incident: 1 Jan 2021. Description: 50 birds including crows, peafowls and pigeons were found dead. Cause: suspected to be H5N1 (based on recent detection of the virus in birds from Indore). Source: News18 India (link), ERDS Foundation (tweet)

Jodhpur
Date of incident: 25 Dec 2020 – 1 Jan 2021. Description: Over 55 peafowl found dead. Cause: unknown; suspected to be H5N1. Source: ERDS Foundation (tweet)

Phalodi, Jodhpur
Date of incident: 5 Jan 2021. Description: 3 crows found dead. Cause: unknown. Source: Rajasthan Patrika (? source unclear; Hindi)

 

TAMIL NADU

Chennai
Date of incident: 6 Jan 2021. Description: 1 koel dead. Cause: unknown. Source: eBird list.

Auroville, Villupuram District
Date of incident: 28 Dec 2020. Description: Over 30 Coppersmith Barbets found dead. Cause: unknown, poisoning suspected. Source: The Hindu; newsrashtra.com; Puthiyathalaimurai TV in Youtube

 

TELANGANA

Rapid response teams formed: Hindustan Times (6 Jan).

 

UTTARAKHAND

2021-01-12. Two crows test positive for avian flu (strain unspecified). Source: India TV (link).
2021-01-07. Uttarakhand sets up control room, toll-free number. Source: ANI (link)

Rishikesh
Date of incident: 10 Jan 2021. Description: 28 crows and 1 pigeon dead. Cause: unknown. Source: Business Standard (link); Business World (link).

Kotdwar, Pauri Garhwal
Date of incident: 9 Jan 2021. Description: 5 crows found dead. Cause: unknown. Source: Republic World (link)

Dehradun
Date of incident: 10 Jan 2021. 165 birds found dead, among them 162 crows. Cause: unknown. Source: Business Standard (link).
Date of incident: 5 Jan 2021. Description: 2 crows found dead. Cause: unknown; samples sent for testing. Source: Times of India.

 

UTTAR PRADESH

Jalaun
Date of incident: 13 Jan 2021. 5 birds found dead. Cause: unknown. Source: Outlook (13 Jan).

Fatehpur
Date of incident: 13 Jan 2021. 2 peacocks found dead. Cause: unknown. Source: Republic World (13 Jan).

Kanpur Zoo
Date of incident: 5-7 Jan 2021. 10 Red Junglefowl dead in Kanpur Zoo. Cause: Avian flu (strain unspecified). Source: Times of India (8 Jan). [See also: Letter from the Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying, confirming the diagnosis (pdf).]

Sonbhadra
Date of incident: 6 Jan 2021. 9 crows found dead. Cause: unknown, samples sent for testing. Source: Times Now News (7 Jan).

 

WEST BENGAL

2021-01-07. Forest department monitors health of migratory birds: Telegraph (7 Jan).

Taratala, Kolkata
Date of incident: 2 Jan 2021. Description: Found dead – 3 Asian openbills, 2 egrets, 2 cormorants, 4 crows. Cause: Some hanging from kite manja; others unknown. Source: eBird list.

 

Featured Image: Spot-billed Pelican, by Subbu Subramanya/Macaulay Library from this checklist.

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Malyasri Bhattacharya
Malyasri Bhattacharya
3 months ago

I have seen few Bar-headed geese dead in the habitat near Pong dam.Also many Bar headed geese was killed by dogs in the vicinity.Here is the checklist from that day,https://ebird.org/india/checklist/S78047534.

Swarup Saha
Swarup Saha
3 months ago

On 3rd Jan 2021,visited Nature Park,Taratala at Kolkata.Lots of asian openbills,cormorants,egrets,lesser whistling ducks,moorhens reside there.Unfortunately huge no of birds(3 asian openbills,2 egrets,2 cormorants,4 crows) found dead either hanging from manja or on the waterside due to unknown reason.As the waterbirds are might be contagious it might be infected & also steps to be taken against these manjas.Checklist from that day https://ebird.org/india/checklist/S78550801

Hemraj Punamchand Patil
Hemraj Punamchand Patil
3 months ago

Chopda Pin 425 107 Dist Jalgaon Maharashtra
Date of sighting dead birds – 1 January 2021
Location – in a field near water hole.
Birds found dead – 1 green bee eater , 1 Long tailed shrike, Jungle Babbler.
Cause – couldn’t guess.

Hemraj Punamchand Patil
Hemraj Punamchand Patil
3 months ago

Hemraj Punamchand Patil
I uploaded a checklist of it on e bird dated 1.1.2021
Time 16.46 pm

Hemraj Punamchand Patil
Hemraj Punamchand Patil
3 months ago

https://ebird.org/india/checklist/S78459471
My checklist birds found dead…

Madhu Gupta
Madhu Gupta
3 months ago

On January 2nd saw 2 dead ruddy shelducks floating in the water in Yamuna Khada, Hiranki area. Shall post the list on ebird soon. Though some fishing activity was also observed nearby.

Anil
Anil
3 months ago

Alert zone has been declared around Pong dam wildlife sanctuary and samples gave been sent by air to NIHSAD Bhopal for investigation/ confirmation of Avian flu.

Anil Thakur, CCF Wildlife

Precious Kamei
Precious Kamei
3 months ago

Yesterday (January 2) went birding in Yamuna khadar area. Saw 2 ruddy shelducks corpse in the water.

Madhu Gupta
Madhu Gupta
3 months ago

On January 2nd, 2021 saw 2 dead Ruddy Shelduck floating in the water at Yamuna Khadar, Hiranki area. Reported in ebird list…
https://ebird.org/india/checklist/S78596706

Madhu Gupta
Madhu Gupta
3 months ago

Thanks for responding. Added photo to the list.

Sunil Dubey
Sunil Dubey
3 months ago
Reply to  Precious Kamei

8 crows have been found dead at somalpur village, near chandrevardai nagar, Ajmer, Rajasthan.

Sunil Dubey
Sunil Dubey
3 months ago

Mass mortality of Red-wattled Lapwing and some other birds at village Batwa, district Junagarh, Gujarat.

Arvind Mishra
3 months ago

Very useful and timely report to sensitive people against a possible outbreak of bird flu.

Vyomkesh Buch
Vyomkesh Buch
3 months ago

Date – 19 Dec
Place -Bhomapardi-Kanjan Rd,Valsad
Description- 2 crows found dead
cause- possible elocution
Ebird link -https://ebird.org/india/checklist/S78758910

Mike Prince
Mike Prince
3 months ago

Unfortunately a few more dead and sick birds from Sonnapura in Karnataka: https://ebird.org/india/checklist/S78811650. The videos on that checklist show some of the birds’ symptoms, and hopefully give a clue as to whether this is avian influenza or some other cause

Chinmay Rahane
Chinmay Rahane
3 months ago

Two dead egrets observed on trees at Talegaon Dabhade near Pune. Ebird checklist added https://ebird.org/checklist/S78859118