By Alina Panek

Indiana (CBS) — The Indiana Department of Natural Resources sent out an alert on Friday, warning bird lovers statewide to remove their bird feeders while they investigate reported songbird deaths in 15 counties.

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Indiana Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory and the USGS National Wildlife Health Center to determine the birds’ cause of death across the counties, Clark, Delaware, Hamilton, Jackson, Jefferson, Johnson, LaGrange, Lake, Marion, Monroe, Newton, St. Joseph, Union, Washington and Whitley.

“The birds were found to have neurological signs of illness as well as eye swelling and crusty discharge,” the Department of Natural Resources said. “The samples tested negative for avian influenza and West Nile virus.”

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In an abundance of caution, the Department of Natural Resources is recommending statewide that all bird feeders be taken down and cleaned with 10% bleach solution. Other safety precautions include keeping pets away from sick or dead bird and if absolutely needed, when handling birds, to wear disposable gloves.

If you do come across an ill bird, the Department of Natural Resources recommends using the DNR sick/dead wildlife reporting tool at on.IN.gov/sickwildlife to alert DNR staff.

The Department of Natural Resources said that they will publish additional information when final diagnostic results are received.

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CBS 2 Chicago Staff