Friday, September 20, 2002

Concern for Birds of Prey Escalates

For the first time since West Nile Virus was discovered in the United States (in New York City) in 1999, it seems to be taking an exacting toll on birds of prey (hawks and owls), particularly in the Midwest. Great Horned Owls seem to be particularly vulnerable. These owls are particularly fond of dining on Common Crows, one of the species that appears to be most susceptible to WNV. Are the owls picking up the virus by feeding on infected crow carcasses? Or is there a connection with hippoboscid flies, a common ectoparasite of birds? Among the latest of an increasing number of news stories focusing on WNV in birds is this article by Jenni Laidman, a science writer for the Toledo Blade.

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