From the field: Outbreak of West Nile virus in greater sage-grouse and guidelines for monitoring, handling, and submitting dead birds

Brett L. Walker, David E. Naugle, Kevin E. Doherty, Todd E. Cornish

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    Abstract

    West Nile virus (WNV) resulted in a 25% decline in survival in four populations of radiomarked greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) across Alberta, Wyoming, and Montana in 2003. Unexpected impacts of WNV are disturbing because range-wide habitat loss and degradation already threaten sage-grouse populations. In the Powder River Basin of Wyoming and Montana, late-summer survival of sage-grouse was lower at a site with confirmed WNV mortalities (20%) than at two sites without (76%). Dramatic declines in both male and female lek attendance at the WNV site the following spring suggest that outbreaks may threaten some local populations with extirpation. The key to understanding broader impacts of WNV on sage-grouse is to monitor additional populations and to determine whether populations infected in 2003 are again impacted this year. To facilitate this process, we describe a strategy for monitoring WNV mortality in the field and provide information on how to handle, store, and submit dead birds for testing.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1000-1006
    Number of pages7
    JournalWildlife Society Bulletin
    Volume32
    Issue number3
    DOIs
    StatePublished - Sep 2004

    Keywords

    • Centrocercus urophasianus
    • Emerging infectious disease
    • Greater sage-grouse
    • Lek count
    • Montana
    • Population decline
    • Powder River Basin
    • Survival
    • West Nile virus
    • Wyoming

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