Birds May Carry New Diseases to a Warming North

strange behaviors

Glaucous gulls and polar bears on the carcass of a dead whale may be sharing more than a meal (Photo: USGS) Glaucous gulls and polar bears on the carcass of a dead whale may be sharing more than a meal (Photo: USGS)

We’ve all heard about insects moving northward and bringing dengue fever, chikungunya virus, and other diseases with them.  But the threat from birds, particularly to other wildlife species, hadn’t occurred to me before.  Here’s a press release about a disconcerting new study in Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment:

When wild birds are a big part of your diet, opening a freshly shot bird to find worms squirming around under the skin is a disconcerting sight. That was exactly what Victoria Kotongan saw in October, 2012, when she set to cleaning two of four spruce grouse (Falcipennis canadensis) she had taken near her home in Unalakleet, on the northwest coast of Alaska. The next day, she shot four grouse and all four harbored the long…

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