In 2010, the USGS NWHC documented eight die-off events of 1,000 or more birds. The causes: starvation, avian cholera, Newcastle disease and parasites, according to Sleeman. Such records show that, while the causes of death may vary, events like the red-winged blackbird die-off in Beebe, Ark., and the smaller one near Baton Rouge, La., are more common than people may realize.
And Sleeman should know – he directs a staff of scientists whose primary purpose is to investigate the nation's wildlife diseases from avian influenza to plague and white-nose syndrome in bats.
"The USGS NWHC provides information, technical assistance, research, education, and leadership on national and international wildlife health issues," Sleeman added.
(HT from Beyond the Black)