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.
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.
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.
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.
(Please click on the respective photo to enlarge it)