Operational biosurveillance is a "one health" discipline. As such, we do pay attention to reports of animal die offs, which may indicate infectious disease activity such as West Nile virus or avian influenza. As we monitor the grid, it is of course useful to understand the broader differential for animal die-offs. In this case, it is the USDA Bye Bye Blackbird program that should be considered as a key differential for the northern states during the winter.
While the reason for the Bye Bye Blackbird program is understandable, these kinds of practices do reduce the potential biological signature left by an incursion of an important zoonotic infectious agent.