Alarming epidemic causing mass die-off along California coast — “Nasty, cheese-like lesions” prevent birds from eating, breathing — Newly discovered parasite being blamed — Experts: “Surprising… Very concerning… Sudden increase is disturbing” (GRAPHIC PHOTOS)

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Alarming epidemic causing mass die-off along California coast — “Nasty, cheese-like lesions” prevent birds from eating, breathing — Newly discovered parasite being blamed — Experts: “Surprising… Very concerning… Sudden increase is disturbing” (GRAPHIC PHOTOS) (ENENews, Feb 21, 2015):

San Luis Obispo (SLO) Tribune, Feb 18, 2015 (emphasis added): I am a volunteer at Pacific Wildlife Care… there is an ongoing problem throughout California with band-tailed pigeons that have grown sick or are dying of Trichomoniasis – a protozoan that causes lesions to form in the throat and nasal passages.

San Francisco Chronicle, Feb 2, 2015: Mass pigeon deaths alarm biologists — An alarming increase in the number of dead and dying band-tailed pigeons along the California coast… apparent victims of a parasite… The sudden increase in mortality is disturbing, [Krysta Rogers, Calif. Dept. of Fish & Wildlife] said… “[It] is very concerning… Right now, it’s really hard to estimate mortality because… if there are deaths in remote locations, we’re not getting reports.”… [The parasite] lives in the mouth and throat of infected birds, causing lesions in the mouth or esophagus that eventually block the passage of food. Infected birds die from starvation or suffocation.

L.A. Times, Feb 3, 2015: The parasite causes lesions in the mouth and throat of infected birds… from the Bay Area to San Diego… state veterinarians are also concerned about the risk of spillover to hawks, falcons and owls.

Noozhawk (Santa Barbara), Feb 8, 2015: Thousands have been discovered since mid-December… scientists have been investigating the large-scale deaths of the birds… It’s unclear what is causing the parasite… more may have perished without having been reported.

Bay Nature, Feb 9, 2015: Trichomonas gallinae [is] a single-celled microscopic protozoan that creates nasty, “cheese-like” lesions in the beak that eventually block the bird’s airway and esophagus… In fact, we’re in the middle of an outbreak right now… [Calif. Dept. of Fish & Wildlife] and UC Davis are applying genetic testing methods to die-offs from these large scale mortality events [and] they recently found a new strain of trichomonosis affecting the population… the birds are being hit by multiple variations of pathogens at once. Scientists don’t know for sure what triggers an outbreak of avian trichomonosis.

UC Davis, Jul 2, 2014: A new pathogen has been discovered by scientists investigating major die-offs of pigeons… The die-offs occurred during multiple epidemics [of this] emerging and potentially fatal disease that creates severe lesions… preventing the bird from eating or drinking [or] leading to suffocation. The disease may date back to when dinosaurs roamed the earth… “The same parasite species that killed band-tailed pigeons during the outbreaks were also killing the birds when there weren’t outbreaks,” said lead author Yvette Girard… “This indicates there may be other factors at play in the die-offs.” “We are now investigating what triggers these die-offs…” said principal investigator Christine Johnson… Between winter 2011 and spring 2012, there were eight mortality events… “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.”

View the study here

1 thought on “Alarming epidemic causing mass die-off along California coast — “Nasty, cheese-like lesions” prevent birds from eating, breathing — Newly discovered parasite being blamed — Experts: “Surprising… Very concerning… Sudden increase is disturbing” (GRAPHIC PHOTOS)

  1. Pigeons are provided by nature to eat things and keep the ground clean. There is a type one finds in big cities, they are scavengers, and unlike wild birds, are filthy. I don’t know if we are talking about the same kind, but vulture animals like city pigeons, appear when garbage is left around. If the area is kept clean, the pigeons go elsewhere.

    Born in San Francisco, I was taught from an early age to hate them because, unlike wild birds, they are lice ridden and dirty. Wild birds are very clean, they love to take baths and stay clean. I had a bird bath when living in the beautiful coastal rain forest, and the little guys came every day to bathe and to drink. Every morning, I took a gallon of fresh water out to the bath, dumped out the old water, and refilled it with clean water. The birds loved it. It was too small for my ravens, but they occasionally drank from it. They, too, are scavengers, but very clean and beautiful.

    Seeing any bird suffer like this is awful, but it might be from other places than Fukushima. If they eat food left overs, they might be getting it from chemically treated foods. I don’t know, but I think Fukushima is the problem killing much of our wild life. It is killing people, we just don’t hear about it, and cancer is skyrocketing from the radiation. Here on the west coast, we are hit directly every day.

    Poor little guys! As Fukushima gets worse, we will all die. For those of us who love animals and wild things, it is doubly painful.

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