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.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

West Nile in Michigan

I remember most of the Blue Jays getting devastated by West Nile virus a few years back. I am now seeing more Blue Jays this year, but also WNV is back in the news. Are the current crop of Jays more resistant to WNV now, or did they get their numbers up and will be affected in the same way again by the virus?!? ~ Dennis
West Nile Virus (WNV) 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.

In some species of birds, WNV-resistant populations may be emerging. Some surveys suggest that WNV may have reached its peak prevalence in the U.S., and the effects on bird species overall may be decreasing.

Birds including Baltimore orioles, chipping sparrows, eastern towhees, northern cardinals, and white-breasted nuthatches, do not seem to even be affected by WNV.

I’m glad you are seeing more birds this year. To learn more about West Vile or to report a sick bird county go to: www.michigan.gov/westnilevirus   

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