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Sunday, August 24, 2008

Yellow-billed Magpies are in a world of hurt

Yellow-billed Magpies, native only to California, have proven extremely vulnerable to West Nile Virus infections. An article in the latest volume of the Auk (see abstract here) estimates that almost half the population of these birds died between 2003 and 2005. Previously, I'd speculated on this decline based on results of the latest Great Backyard Bird Count. While I usually like being right, I hate to be right when it comes to predicting bad news for birds.

1 comment:

egretsnest said...

I wasn't aware of any of this but when I drove across CA last week, I saw a magpie and it occurred to me that I don't see them as often as I used to. How sad. They are spectacular birds.

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