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How do I dispose of dead birds on my property (5 or more)?

Given the concern about avian influenza in wild birds (especially waterfowl and aquatic birds and birds of prey) and the fact that more dead birds may increase the possibility that avian influenza may be the cause of the deaths, the following are tips to reduce the potential risk of avian influenza spreading to people who may need to pick up dead birds on their property during a die-off. While it is unlikely that handling dead birds would lead to human infection, it is best to be cautious. If you should develop flu-like illness within seven days of disposing of a group of dead birds, seek medical attention.

Before disposing of dead wild birds when five or more occur, contact your District Wildlife Biologist with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources at or call the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Wildlife Services, at 1-866-487-3297 to determine if domesticated bird samples should be collected for testing.

What supplies are needed?

  • Disposable waterproof gloves
  • Plastic bags
  • Safety goggles
  • N95 mask
  • Secure trash can


  1. Don’t use bare hands to pick up any dead bird or animal.
  2. Use disposable waterproof gloves and/or an inverted plastic bag to pick up the dead bird(s). Double the plastic bag with the bird(s) inside and dispose in the trash where it cannot be accessed by children or animals.
  3. Consider wearing a raincoat or disposable plastic trash bag over your clothes.
  4. Safety goggles and an N95 mask (available in retail stores) can be used to protect your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  5. After handling a bird, avoid touching your face with glove or unwashed hands.
  6. After the bird(s) are disposed of, take gloves off first and put into plastic bag for disposal.
  7. Wash hands with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use hand sanitizer.
  8. Remove mask and goggles.
  9. Throw away any disposable equipment after use (mask, gloves) and disinfect other equipment (like safety goggles) according to manufacturer’s specifications.
  10. Wash clothes in washing machine with detergent and use the hot water cycle.