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Die-offs of band-tailed pigeons connected to newly discovered parasite
Date:7/2/2014

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Between winter 2011 and spring 2012, there were eight mortality events -- defined as more than five dead birds found in the same geographic area during the same time frame. The study said trichomonosis was confirmed in 96 percent of dead, sick or dying birds examined at seven of the mortality events. This disease was also found in:

  • 36 percent of band-tailed pigeons at wildlife rehabilitation centers

  • 11 percent of hunter-killed band-tailed pigeons

  • 4 percent of the birds caught live and released

"What makes this disease more troublesome for band-tailed pigeons is their low reproductive rate -- about one chick per year -- and also that these events are occurring in the wintertime," said co-author Krysta Rogers, an environmental scientist with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. "That means almost all the birds we're losing during events are adult birds. They're being killed before they have the ability to reproduce in the spring."

Mortality events in band-tailed pigeons have been reported in California at least since 1945, but have increased during the last decade, with outbreaks reported in six of the last 10 years.

"Going into the study, we expected to find a single, highly virulent species of Trichomonas in birds sampled at outbreaks," Girard said. "Having two species killing birds at these large-scale mortality events is surprising."

Necropsies of the birds were conducted at the California Animal Health and Food Safety Laboratory at UC Davis and the Wildlife Investigations Laboratory at the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Both studies were funded by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The study naming the new species of parasite is published in the journal International Journal for Parasitology: Parasites and Wildlife. The study that explains how trichomonosis i
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Contact: Yvette Girard
yagirard@ucdavis.edu
University of California - Davis
Source:Eurekalert  

Page: 1 2 3

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Die-offs of band-tailed pigeons connected to newly discovered parasite
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