January 14, 2010


Cold Kills More Than 100 Birds

Biologists with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are investigating the deaths of at least 100 birds.

The birds, mainly brown pelicans, were found on the southern tip of Pelican Island, also known as Sand Island.

“When we reached the southern tip, we found two groups of brown pelican carcasses along with several other dead birds in the area,” explained USFWS biologist Peter Tuttle. “The birds appeared to have been dead for lengths of time ranging from a day or two to a few weeks.”

WKRG News 5 - www.wkrg.com
12 Jan 2010
J Burch
Photo courtesy of WKRG News 5
Location: Pelican Island, Alabama - Map It

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Influenza and wildlife: Mix and match

Which animal species are most likely to get flu? The scientific value of zoos is sometimes called into question, but Mark Schrenzel and Bruce Rideout, two experts on wildlife diseases who work at San Diego Zoo’s Institute for Conservation Research, have just shown the value of having a wide range of animals to hand for study. They have been looking at which species might act as reservoirs for influenza viruses and—worse, from the human point of view—which might act as “mixing vessels” in which new strains of virus are generated.

Their work revolved around an analysis of complex carbohydrates found on the surface membranes of cells. These molecules can act as “receptors” for influenza viruses, permitting them to lock onto a cell’s surface and thus infect it.

The Economist - www.economist.com
7 Jan 2010
Photo courtesy of The Economist

Birds spread Lyme Disease

Researchers at the Yale School of Public Health have shown that birds have helped spread Lyme disease across North America.

A team led by School of Public Health researcher Maria Diuk-Wasser analyzed studies on 71 bird species that host the black legged tick, the main carrier of Lyme disease. They found that 58.6 percent of the bird species can infect the tick with the bacterium that is responsible for Lyme disease. The literature review was published online in December in the journal Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment.

“Although it has been known for some time that birds play some role in Lyme disease epidemiology, this study integrates all the available information and points at particular bird species that may have a critical role in dispersing the Lyme agent,” Diuk-Wasser said.

Yale Daily News - www.yaledailynews.com
13 Jan 2010
J Nadelmann


Pearl Beach bird deaths natural phenomenon [avian botulism]

Gosford City Council has investigated reports of multiple bird deaths within the Pearl Beach Lagoon and it has been found that the affected birds demonstrated clinical signs of being infected with a naturally occurring avian disease.

Known as avian botulism, the disease is caused by a bacterium called Clostridium botulinum, a naturally occurring organism that lives in lakes and ponds, especially in and around decaying vegetation.

Coast News - www.thecoastnews.com.au
13 Jan 2010
V Ceely
Location: New South Wales, Australia - Map It


Photo courtesy of BBC News

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