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Re: West Nile & Crows

Subject: Re: West Nile & Crows
From: Rob Danielson <>
Date: Mon, 1 Sep 2003 13:20:39 -0500
>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?

Hi Martyn--
We had behaviors like you describe in Milwaukee last summer. I saw a 
sick Jay literally fall off of a porch onto the walk.There were dead 
crows, even a few hermit thrushes, in the street. Through the fall 
and winter, there were noticeably fewer numbers of crows.  But this 
summer, the crow population seems strong again. It could be the 
numbers are up and down in different locations. Rob D.


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