Blaumeise_T Himmel
Institution: Institute of Pathology, University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna
Project lead: Herbert Weissenböck
Veterinärplatz 1
1210 Vienna
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Avian malaria

Reporting and collecting dead songbirds

You find a dead songbird in your garden? Your cat brings home a dead bird? If you are in this situation, you can support a current research project of the University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna.

Avian malaria

Within the framework of the Citizen-Science project "Avian malaria", dead songbirds and woodpeckers from Vienna, Lower Austria, and Burgenland are collected by the Institute of Pathology at the University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna. The birds are examined scientifically to gain further knowledge about the pathological effects of haemosporidian infections in songbirds. Haemosporidians are unicellular blood parasites that are transmitted by mosquitoes and other bloodsucking insects. The researchers are particularly interested in the conditions under which the blood parasites proliferate strongly in the tissues of the birds and thus cause serious and sometimes fatal avian malaria diseases. The collection campaign is carried out in cooperation with StadtWildTiere, Wilde Nachbarn and Birdlife Austria.

Reporting and collecting dead birds

You can report the finding of a dead bird using a report form on the homepage of StadtWildTiere. Besides, you can send a photo of the bird found via e-mail to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. This makes it easier to check and confirm your report. Nearly all songbird species (except for blackbirds and crows) and woodpeckers are of interest. Information on the safe handling and storage of dead birds can be found on the project homepage.

How do the birds get to the University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna?

Shortly after your report, the project team will contact you (by phone or e-mail) to clarify whether the reported bird is needed and to arrange the pick-up of the dead birds in case of acceptance. To keep the effort for you as low as possible, the pick-up and transportation will be carried out by a transport service (Medlog). The transportation costs will be covered entirely by the Vetmeduni Vienna.

Scientific studies

The dead birds are subjected to pathological examination at the Institute of Pathology of the Vetmeduni Vienna and tested for the presence of haemosporidian parasites. In positive cases, the pathogen species are identified and tissue changes caused by the parasites are analyzed. In any case, the project team will inform you about the results of your finding, and the collected data will be published on the project homepage at the end of the study. All research-related data is stored in the internal patient database of the Vetmeduni Vienna.

The reporting and collecting campaign ran from June to October 2020.

Picture gallery

(Please click on the respective photo to enlarge it)

Tagged under
  • animals
  • health
Read 439 times| Last modified on Thursday, 27 May 2021 21:03