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Role of bird movements in the epidemiology of West Nile and avian influenza virus

May 1, 2012

Avian influenza virus (AIV) is influenced by site fidelity and movements of bird hosts. We examined the movement ecology of American crows (Corvus brachyrhynchos) as potential hosts for West Nile virus (WNV) and greater white-fronted geese (Anser albifrons frontalis) as potential hosts for AIVs. Research was based on radio-telemetry studies conducted in the Central Valley of California, USA. While crows were restricted to a small area of only a few square kilometers, the distribution of the geese encompassed the northern Central Valley. The crows used 1.5 to 3.5 different roosting areas monthly from February through October, revealing lower roost fidelity than the geese that used 1.1 to 1.5 roosting areas each month from November through March. The crows moved a mean distance of 0.11 to 0.49 km/month between their roosting sites and 2.5 to 3.9 km/month between roosting and feeding sites. In contrast, the geese moved 4.2 to 19.3 km/month between roosting areas, and their feeding range varied from 13.2 to 19.0 km/month. Our comparison of the ecological characteristics of bird movements suggests that the limited local movements of crows coupled with frequent turnover of roosts may result in persistence of focal areas for WNV infection. In contrast, widespread areas used by geese will provide regular opportunities for intermixing of AIVs over a much greater geographic area.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2012
Title Role of bird movements in the epidemiology of West Nile and avian influenza virus
DOI 10.26077/x5rx-sx16
Authors Sabir Bin Muzaffar, Nichola J. Hill, John Y. Takekawa, William M. Perry, Lacy M. Smith, Walter M. Boyce
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Human-Wildlife Interactions
Series Number
Index ID 70185329
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Western Ecological Research Center

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