Dead Birds Are On the Rise in Chicago, But Why?

Residents all over Chicago have been reporting a bizarre increase in bird carcasses over the last few weeks--most of them without any visible wounds--while the City of Chicago picked up 150 dead birds in September, a 50% increase from the month before.

The phenomenon isn't limited to a single species. Goldfinches have been found in Lakeview, a hawk in Andersonville, and a variety of other birds are dying mysteriously in the South Loop, Gold Coast, and Old Town, where one resident finds "about two new ones" every day.

Residents have taken to EveryBlock.com to report and discuss their findings, and many fear that West Nile virus might be to blame, especially after the widely-publicized death of a Chicago firefighter last week who appears to have been infected with the mosquito-borne illness.

Luckily, humans can't contract West Nile from birds. But if the virus is responsible for the increase in bird deaths, it could mean an increase in infected mosquitoes.

But researchers at Chicago Wildlife News and the Chicago Bird Collision Monitors have another possible explanation for the mysterious deaths. Autumn is migration season, so there are more birds in the air, which means more potential collisions with windows, cell towers, and glass skyscrapers.

The Chicago Department of Public Health will test the birds collected last month, which will determine how many of them--if any--were killed by West Nile.

If you spot a dead bird (or any dead animal, for that matter), call 311 as soon as possible, so that Streets and Sanitation can remove it and hand it over to the Department of Public Health for testing.

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  • i blame gang violence

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    Could it be all the Chem-trails.

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    Considering the title of the story I'd say the answer is LEVITATION; what else could make dead birds rise?

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    It's empathy for the dead ducks in the city council.

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    I am of the same opinion as you do, if you consider that the man can say the same respect as you
    Spiegelschrank

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    Adam Morgan

    Adam Morgan is an outdoors author at Falcon Guides, an award-winning screenwriter at Fox, a blogger at the Tribune Company, a literary magazine editor, copyeditor, backpacker, and explorer. His book, Best Hikes Near Chicago, was published in 2011. He has written and contributed to Publishers Weekly, Bookslut, Ghost Ocean Magazine, and served as editor-in-chief of The Lincoln Park Times in 2011 and Oyez Review in 2010. His script, "Liberal Arts", won grand prize at the New York Television Festival in 2009, and is currently in development at Fox. He also blogs at MountHelicon.blogspot.com.

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