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

Human-Wildlife Interactions
By: , and 



Avian infl uenza virus (AIV) is infl uenced by site fi delity 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 fi delity 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.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Role of bird movements in the epidemiology of West Nile and avian influenza virus
Series title Human-Wildlife Interactions
Volume 6
Issue 1
Year Published 2012
Language English
Publisher Berryman Institute
Contributing office(s) Western Ecological Research Center
Description 17 p.
First page 72
Last page 88
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