What to Do With a Dead Bird in Your Yard?

what to do with a dead bird in your yard

No one enjoys coming across a dead bird on their property, especially if you’re an animal lover. Unfortunately, this happens quite often and is pretty common in nature. Birds can fall victim to predators, illnesses, and even accidents like crashing hard into glass windows. If you find yourself in this situation, you might be wondering what to do with a dead bird in your yard.

If you find a dead bird on your property, you should carefully dispose of the bird’s body for health and safety reasons. Make sure not to touch the bird with your bare hands. Wear protective gloves and place the dead bird in a sealed plastic bag, then dispose of it with your normal trash.

Removing dead birds from your yard helps minimize the negative impacts on other birds nearby, in such cases when death is from an infection. If you have a pets, you also don’t want to risk them eating dead birds they may come across.

In this article, we will discuss more on different ways you can remove dead birds to prevent the spread of disease, which can affect both humans and animals.

What Do You Do If You Find A Dead Bird?

Birds can die for a variety of reasons, most of them can be mundane. Whatever the cause may be, if you find one in your yard, the best thing to do is to leave it be and let nature take over, or remove it from your property altogether. 

It may be a different story if you find many of them died in your yard. In such cases, it’s best to call the wildlife agency for assistance.

What To Do With Dead Baby Birds On The Ground

A more heartbreaking sight would be dead baby birds on your property. You can’t help but feel sorry for the innocent creatures who didn’t get a chance to grow up and fly about. How you deal with it will be the same way as you deal with adult birds who turn up dead. 

Some people will leave the little birds alone. Soon enough the birds will decompose or might be eaten by other animals nearby as a free meal. Others feel more strongly for the little ones that they decide to bury them.

Whether you find a dead bird that is either young or mature, there are precautions to observe when handling them.

How Do You Pick Up A Dead Bird Without Touching It?

You may not realize but infectious diseases are a common cause of death for birds. Some of these diseases can be transmitted to humans, although these rarely happen. Nevertheless, it’s important to learn how to pick up a dead bird the proper way – which usually means not touching it without protective gear.

If you can’t wait for assistance from the wildlife agency or if you simply decide to dispose of the dead bird on your own, here are safety tips to keep in mind:

  • Confirm if the bird is really dead. Observe if it’s moving slightly to breathe. 
  • Always remember not to touch the bird with bare hands, especially if you have open wounds. Instead, use a long stick to poke it or you may throw a stone at it to check for signs of life.
  • If you have to remove the animal consider having the following items: long shovel (a good example is Spear Head Spade) and high-quality leak-proof gloves, such as this rubber hand washing gloves.
  • If you don’t have the aforementioned items, you can always use heavy-duty plastic bags. Use it as a glove to pick up the dead bird and then turn it inside-out so that the dead bird is now inside the bag.
  • With your hands still protected, make sure to position the bird in a way that its beak and claws won’t puncture the bag.
  • Seal the bag and then place it inside another plastic bag
  • Throw the bag inside the household trash.
  • Finally, wash your hands thoroughly with antibacterial soap (Try Dial Antibacterial Liquid Hand Soap)and water.

Bird Funerals: Should I Bury A Dead Bird?

There are people who would rather give small animals the funeral they feel the creatures deserve. Whether it’s a wild bird or any small pet, some people feel it’s their responsibility to give the innocent ones a proper send off.

The decision on whether you should bury a dead bird or not will depend entirely on your beliefs. Whatever the case is, just remember not to touch the bird with your bare hands as you prepare for the funeral.

How Long Does It Take A Bird To Decompose?

If you want to take this route, remember that it could take a month or less for a bird to fully decompose into just bones. Of course, the size of the bird and the environmental conditions would also matter. Smaller ones tend to decay faster than the bigger ones. Also, warm days hastens decomposition more than cold days.

The decomposition rate is something you should understand, especially if you want to bury a bird in your area or if you plan to leave it on the surface. Remember that scavengers could lurk and take advantage of the carcass, whether it’s buried or not.

Can You Revive A Dead Bird?

In a way, you can revive a dead bird but not in the manner that you’re thinking. While you can’t do CPR to resurrect a dead bird, you may bring it back to life through art and science purposes. 

Some people collect birds and then stuff them for educational purposes. Others do it as an art collection. For either research or taxidermy purposes, you may need to get special permits as it is illegal to collect dead birds or any of their parts.

This applies to native migratory birds under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.  If you did collect feathers from a non-native bird you didn’t kill, then this is acceptable. 

What Happens If You Touch A Dead Bird?

Proper removal of dead birds, or any dead animal for that matter, will always require a person to wear protective gloves. So what really happens if you happen to touch a dead bird accidentally? Can a dead bird make you sick?

If in the event, you came in contact with a dead bird, you need to immediately wash your hands. Birds, although they are regarded as beautiful creatures of nature, are capable of transmitting diseases to humans. Moreso, if they are already dead.

Dead birds are likely to transmit diseases and make you sick as they carry a plethora of bacteria, viruses, and other harmful microorganisms. While not so common, these microorganisms can be found on their feathers. When you touch a dead bird, the way you get sick is when you don’t wash your hands before eating, drinking, or smoking.

What Diseases Can You Get From A Dead Bird?

Bacterial, fungal, and viral diseases can be spread to humans by birds. One of the most common diseases associated with contact with dead birds is Salmonellosis. This illness is manifested through food poisoning, so anyone who gets infected will experience the following symptoms:

  • Diarrhea
  • Acute abdominal pain
  • Vomiting
  • Fever

There is a risk of catching Salmonella by touching dead birds so it’s best to practice personal hygiene when you have to remove the bird yourself.

What Are The Signs Of A Bird Dying?

Now that we have discussed precautions when handling a dead bird, you might need to know how to deal with one that is on the verge of death. What if you saw a bird that’s barely breathing on your lawn?

What can you do to save a bird’s life? A better question would be, can you really do something? This will depend on whether the bird’s condition can be improved or it’s hopeless. There are two ways to tell if a wild bird on your lawn can make it or not: by observing its appearance and behavior.

Observing Appearance

Symptoms of illness in birds may not always show, but if they do manifest, you might quickly recognize it. Note that a healthy bird looks intact, with complete, neat feathers and remains alert. 

On the other hand, sick birds are the opposite; they look dull with fluffed or missing feathers, and have noticeable eye, mouth or nose discharge and wounds. 

Sometimes, it’s hard to tell just by looking at a bird’s appearance. This is especially true if you have a small bird on your property. In this case, you might want to observe the overall behavior.

Observing Behavior

A healthy bird is always up and about and remains vigilant about its surroundings. After all, smaller ones are considered prey. If you are approaching, they easily fly to get away from you. In contrast, an unhealthy bird does nothing of that sort.

Unhealthy behavior includes being non-reactive, especially when you’re approaching, limping, unable to fly swiftly, excessive drinking, and/or avoid the feeder altogether.

Why Do Birds Die Suddenly

If you can’t tell that a bird is sick, then it’s even harder to tell the cause of sudden death. Experts don’t believe that birds die of natural causes such as old age. So if an illness has been ruled out, it’s likely that birds die because they are prey or they had accidents. In this section, we will discuss some of the accident- or nature-related causes of death in birds.

Trauma

Trauma is one of the reasons why a bird dies suddenly. Trauma may be caused by predator attacks or by accidents, such as when a bird hits a solid barrier. Accidents involve collisions with structures like buildings, wind turbines, and electrical wires.

Poisoning

Another reason for sudden death in birds is accidental poisoning. This likely happens when a bird drinks or eats from feeders contaminated with pesticides or insecticides. Herbicides and chemical fertilizers can also affect birds if these are not used properly.

Exhaustion

Flying may be a bird’s innate job but it eventually gets tired without periods of rest. Exhaustion happens when birds can’t find appropriate resting spots. They might not die from exhaustion, but they can get disoriented if they keep going on for longer periods. Once they do, they might not be able to fly properly, which will result in crashes – and then death.

Who To Call For Dead Birds?

So you have decided you don’t want to deal with dead birds on your property. In that case, you need to call your local Department of Wildlife and Fisheries. There are also professional dead bird removal services should you prefer this option.

Conclusion: What to Do With a Dead Bird in Your Yard?

Finding a dead bird in your yard is quite common so you need to know what you should do when it happens. The most important thing to remember is to never touch dead birds with bare hands. 

If you have to remove them from your property, use a long-handed tool and wear protective gloves. If you need some help, you can either call wildlife services or hire a professional to do the job for you.