About us: We own the Wild Birds Unlimited nature shop in East Lansing, Michigan,
a store that provides a wide variety of supplies to help you enjoy the birdwatching hobby.

This blog was created to answer frequently asked questions & to share nature stories and photographs.
To contribute, email me at bloubird@gmail.com.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Has anyone asked you why there are so many crows this year?

No, but I have heard comments on the large numbers of Blue Jays. The increase in the population of crows and jays is very good news! If you remember, not so long ago, their populations crashed due to West Nile Virus (WNV).

American CrowImage via WikipediaWNV is a mosquito-transmitted disease that was first discovered in the African country of Uganda in 1937. In recent years West Nile virus has caused illness in birds, horses, and humans in Europe, and then the United States. It was first discovered in the U.S. in 1999 in New York City. Since that time, West Nile virus has been detected in humans, animals, and mosquitoes in 47 states from coast to coast. Originally reported in the Michigan in 2004, dead bird clusters of American Crows and Blue Jays acted as an early warning system for WNV activity.

I’m glad you are seeing more birds this year. I adore watching crows in the yard with my cats but if you are having trouble with too many birds you can go a previous post: How Do I Deter Crows at the Feeder?

More information:
1. West Nile Virus reported in Michigan 2010: http://diseasemaps.usgs.gov/wnv_mi_human.html?adjacent=in
2. West Nile Story by Medical Ecology: http://www.medicalecology.org/diseases/westnile/westnile.htm
3. CDC: http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvbid/westnile/index.htm
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