The New York wildlife pathologist has identified a new epidemic killing off crows, and it could spread to commercial poultry farms, according to Newsday.
The highest concentration of dead crows has been found in Poughkeepsie, a small city on the Hudson River where crows are known to congregate in huge flocks during the winter.
Crows were the harbinger of West Nile virus, which Wildlife Pathologist Ward Stone was instrumental in defining in 1999 when it first appeared in the Western Hemisphere in New York City. Like the West Nile virus, the avian reovirus is particularly virulent to crows; unlike the West Nile virus, reovirus is not dangerous to humans.
It could jump to other species of birds, however. This virus has decimated poultry farms in the past, according to Newsday.
Because snow may have covered dead crows, and because Stone's position is unique among neighboring states, it's likely the disease has killed many more birds, over a wider area, than has been identified right now.
For bird lovers, there's reason to be concerned about crows and other birds in the corvid family, like blue jays. The population of these birds already took a hit from West Nile virus, and this epidemic promises more trouble.
Enter your city or zip code to get your local temperature and air quality and find local green food and recycling resources near you.