Bird Species Plummeted After West Nile

Posted on May 17, 2007  Comments (0)

Bird Species Plummeted After West Nile:

Several common species of North American birds have suffered drastic population declines since the arrival of the West Nile virus eight years ago, leaving rural and suburban areas quieter than they used to be and imposing ecological stresses on a variety of other animals and plants, a new study has found.

In Maryland, for example, 2005 chickadee populations were 68 percent lower than would have been expected had West Nile not arrived, and in Virginia chickadee populations were 50 percent below that prediction.

It shows that the post-1998 declines were greatest at times and places in which the virus was especially prevalent — as indicated by the number of human infections diagnosed. As expected, American crows were among the worst hit, suffering declines of as much as 45 percent in some regions and wipeouts of 100 percent in some smaller areas. Other species that suffered included the blue jay, the tufted titmouse, the American robin, the house wren, the chickadee and — unexpectedly — the American bluebird.

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