Friday, April 17, 2015
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Study blames newfound parasite for pigeon die-off

dove1w

Three bandtailed pigeons perch in Santa Barbara County. Researchers at UC Davis and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife have identified trichomonosis as a key factor in winter die-offs and the population decline of this native migratory game bird. Courtesy photo

By
From page A9 | July 03, 2014 |

A new pathogen has been discovered by scientists investigating major die-offs of pigeons native to North America, according to studies led by UC Davis and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Scientists were able to implicate this new parasite, along with the ancient parasite Trichomonas gallinae, in the recent deaths of thousands of Pacific Coast band-tailed pigeons. The die-offs occurred during multiple epidemics in California’s Central Coast and Sierra Nevada mountain ranges. Scientists named the new pathogen Trichomonas stableri.

Avian trichomonosis is an emerging and potentially fatal disease that creates severe lesions that can block the esophagus, ultimately preventing the bird from eating or drinking, or the trachea, leading to suffocation. The disease may date back to when dinosaurs roamed the Earth, as lesions indicative of trichomonosis were found recently in T-Rex skeletons.

The disease also may have contributed to the decline of the passenger pigeon, whose extinction occurred exactly 100 years ago.

Epidemics of the disease can result in the death of thousands of birds in a short amount of time. An outbreak in Carmel Valley killed an estimated 43,000 birds in 2007.

“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, a postdoctoral scholar with the Wildlife Health Center in the UCD School of Veterinary Medicine at the time of the studies. “This indicates there may be other factors at play in the die-offs.”

Added principal investigator Christine Johnson, a professor with the Wildlife Health Center, “We are now investigating what triggers these die-offs, which may be caused by the congregation of infected and vulnerable birds during certain environmental conditions, or even spillover from another nearby species.”

Between winter 2011 and spring 2012, there were eight mortality events — defined as more than five dead birds found in the same geographic area during the same time frame. The study said trichomonosis was confirmed in 96 percent of dead, sick or dying birds examined at seven of the mortality events. This disease also was found in:

* 36 percent of band-tailed pigeons at wildlife rehabilitation centers;

* 11 percent of hunter-killed band-tailed pigeons; and

* 4 percent of the birds caught live and released;

“What makes this disease more troublesome for band-tailed pigeons is their low reproductive rate — about one chick per year — and also that these events are occurring in the wintertime,” said co-author Krysta Rogers, an environmental scientist with the Department of Fish and Wildlife.

“That means almost all the birds we’re losing during events are adult birds. They’re being killed before they have the ability to reproduce in the spring.”

Mortality events in band-tailed pigeons have been reported in California at least since 1945, but they have increased during the past decade — with outbreaks reported in six of the last 10 years.

“Going into the study, 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.”

Necropsies of the birds were conducted at the California Animal Health and Food Safety Laboratory at UCD and the Wildlife Investigations Laboratory at the Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Both studies were funded by the department and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The study naming the new species of parasite is published in the journal International Journal for Parasitology: Parasites and Wildlife. The study that explains how trichomonosis is affecting the band-tailed pigeon is published in the journal Infection, Genetics and Evolution.

— UC Davis News

Comments

comments

.

News

Turning a mess into olive oil success

By Dave Jones | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Psychedelic rock posters recall 1960s concerts

By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A1 | Gallery

UCD study: Crickets not enough to feed the world just yet

By Kathy Keatley Garvey | From Page: A1

 
It’ll be a perfect day for a picnic — and lots more

By Tanya Perez | From Page: A1 | Gallery

Bob Dunning: Chasing criminals and water-wasters

By Bob Dunning | From Page: A2

 
UCD expands emergency notification service

By Julia Ann Easley | From Page: A2

California vaccine bill stalls; will come back next week

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Cities: California water reduction order unrealistic, unfair

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

Enjoy a chemistry bang on Picnic Day

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Start your Picnic Day with pancakes

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Local students to perform at fundraising concert

By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
CA House hosts crepe breakfast

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Doxie Derby crowns the winning wiener

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Fundraiser benefits Ugandan women

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

See pups at Picnic Day

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4 | Gallery

 
Davis poet will read his work at library

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Free blood pressure screenings offered

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4Comments are off for this post

 
Rotary Club hosts whisky tasting

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Ribs and Rotary benefits local charities

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4 | Gallery

 
Dodd plans fundraising barbecue in Davis

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Soroptimists set date for golf tourney

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Socks collected for homeless veterans

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Council will present environmental awards Tuesday

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5

 
Invention and upcycling to be honored at Square Tomatoes Fair

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5

 
Take a peek at Putah Creek on daylong tour

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5 | Gallery

Pence Gallery Garden Tour tickets on sale

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

 
UC Davis Circle K Club wins awards at district convention

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

Davis authors featured at writing conference in Stockton

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

 
Sign up soon for Davis history tour

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A6 | Gallery

Campus firearms bill passes Senate committee

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

 
Emerson featured at photography program

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

Portuguese influence in Yolo County detailed

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

 
Concert and dance party celebrate KDRT’s 10 years on the air

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7 | Gallery

 
Survival skills to be taught at preserve

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A9

.

Forum

The new one puts her foot down

By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

 
Artists offer heartfelt thanks

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A8

Tom Meyer cartoon

By Debbie Davis | From Page: A8

 
It’s time to fight for California’s jobs

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8

 
Future leaders give back

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A8

Know where your gift is going

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A8

 
Pipeline veto a good move

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A8

.

Sports

DHS boys drop another Delta League match

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Aggie women ready to host (win?) Big West golf tourney

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1

New strength coach hopes to stem UCD football injury tide

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Herd has too much for Devil softballers

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

Les, AD Gould talk about the Aggie coach’s future

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1

 
UCD roundup: Quintet of Aggie gymnasts honored for academics

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
River Cats fall to Las Vegas

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B12

 
Diamondbacks defeat Giants in 12 innings

By The Associated Press | From Page: B12 | Gallery

.

Features

DSF kicks off 10th anniversary celebration at the carousel

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: B5

 
Many summer enrichment opportunities available for students

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: B5

 
What’s happening

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: B5

.

Arts

‘True Story:’ In their dreams

By Derrick Bang | From Page: A10 | Gallery

 
‘Once’ an unforgetable celebration of music, relationships

By Bev Sykes | From Page: A11 | Gallery

 
.

Business

Honda shows off new Civic at New York show

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
.

Obituaries

Robert Leigh Cordrey

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Ruth Rodenbeck Stumpf

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

.

Comics

Comics: Friday, April 17, 2015

By Creator | From Page: B10