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West Nile & Crows

Subject: West Nile & Crows
From: "Martyn Stewart" <>
Date: Mon, 1 Sep 2003 10:23:32 -0700
Just wondering what affect West Nile decease is having with the rest of
the group, I have been recording a group of crows for nearly two years
now that visit my garden, I have had around 25 to 30 birds daily and of
course in breading season, the numbers dropped while they were off
feeding their young but to be sure, they bought their youngsters along
after for the smorgasbord, but recently, my birding numbers have
declined, I have around 15 to 20 crows now.
I found 2 perfectly formed dead crows here last month and a steller's
jay, I sent them off to the public health for analysis and am yet to
hear the results, but I fear the worst.
The birds were seen very groggy walking about the garden with very
little energy, later in the day I picked up the dead birds.
As to now, only one case of west Nile has been found in Washington
State, this was in Yakima.
I must say I have little confidence in the local public health here,
They are only testing Corvid's and Jays for West Nile, when I called to
say I had a dead Steller for testing, the girl on the other end of the
phone said "sorry, we are only testing Jays and crows"...
The vocalizations of crows are very interesting and assure me that there
is this very special language between each species; it's a conversation
that has a code totally unique in itself. I began to notice more and
more subtleties in the sounds I had recorded from these birds in my
garden as apposed to crows from a totally different area.
This is a subject I Know Doug has close to his heart.
 Looking back at crow vocalizations from the past 18 months shows me
that this group of crows are from the same family, Granddads, Grandmas,
Moms, Dads and the new kids on the block. The various Roosts we have
here In the Seattle region are down in numbers too. What a hell of a
world it would be without the "clean-up" brigade being around? These are
the most underrated and victimized birds of them all.
What say you? Are your numbers down?

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