Crows and West Nile Virus

The American Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos ) is in the same family of birds as magpies, ravens, and blue jays. It is solid black and about 1 1/2 feet long. It's found in just about all of the US and is known for its distinctive "Caw" call. A pest for farmers, the Scarecrow is a staple in fields.

Most birders would rather not have crows in their yards - they're large and scare away smaller birds. They eat just about anything food-like you put out.

Crows have gotten a lot of press recently because of the West Nile Virus. You do NOT get the virus from crows. You can ONLY get the virus from mosquitoes. Crows just happen to get sick too, and very rarely they die. By testing dead crows, local authorities can tell if the mosquitoes in the area are infected. Crows happen to work well for this purpose, even though mosquitoes can infect any animal, because there are a ton of them to start with so more are likely to die. Also, they're large enough to be easily spotted when they die. Read More about the West Nile Virus and Birding.

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