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Avian malaria cited as possible cause of London House Sparrow decline


Game Warden

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Game Warden

Reports www.birdguides.com

 

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A study has found that 74 per cent of London's House Sparrows carry avian malaria – more than any other bird population in Northern Europe – and links the intensity of individuals' infections to sparrow decline.

House Sparrow numbers in the capital have plummeted by 71 per cent since 1995...

 

To read the full article click here.

 

What are your thoughts, especially those London based Safaritalkers?

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COSMIC RHINO

Very concerning , especially  considering  that human malaria  can't be caught in  Europe  

 

Global warming has  been mentioned  as  a risk for  malaria  developing in  Australia

Edited by COSMIC RHINO
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ForWildlife

But what is the reason of the high prevalence of avian malaria? Not enough food, shelter, quality of food, noise, etc? Why would birds in London carry more avian malaria than in other cities?

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Earthian

@Game Warden

 

Though i am not London based, i would like to add some comments on this topic, if i may. There have been some studies linking EMR with the decline in bird, particularly the house sparrow, from cities. In fact, the house sparrow is practically not seen in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, india where i live . And yet, they were very common when i was growing up. In fact, they could be  quite a nuisance, building nests on top of the ceiling fans in  the "cup"- that hides  the joint of the rod with the "U" shackle in the ceiling . We were unable to use the fan in hot summers due to the fear of disturbing the nest/chicks. Those days, Air Conditioners were a rarity and the houses usually sported two sets of doors-one netted to allow for air circulation, and the other, the more conventional one for securing the premises. Yet the sparrows made their way inside the house. However, though to my young mind, they were a pest since i had to stifle in the heat; most households accepted the sparrow's ingress into the house as no big deal and were hardly troubled by it. We were more tolerant and accommodating those days for sure.

 

Some research on EMR and birds can be viewed here: https://www.livingplanet.be/emrbirds.htm

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douglaswise

The evidence thus far provided that malaria is a primary cause of sparrow mortality is suggestive only.  The infection is obviously widespread, but intensity of infection is greatest in young birds from declining populations.  This could result from other stressors which might be diminishing resistance.  These could include other thus-far unidentified infections or nutritional deficiency.  City sparrows are possibly more reliant on garden bird feeders than those in more rural areas.  These generally provide unbalanced diets and the feeders themselves encourage the spread of various infections.  For example, salmonella infections are common in garden birds using artificial feeders.  They seldom kill the birds but are often blamed for so doing. 

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Earthian
9 hours ago, douglaswise said:

  City sparrows are possibly more reliant on garden bird feeders than those in more rural areas.  These generally provide unbalanced diets and the feeders themselves encourage the spread of various infections.  

This may not be  true as far as India is concerned. since there are hardly any bird feeders used in City or rural areas. Yet the population of sparrows has diminished alarmingly.

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douglaswise

Fair point, @Earthian.  Obviously, sparrow declines can be precipitated by factors other than disease and poor diet.  Predation and toxic chemicals spring to mind.

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COSMIC RHINO

For open access article  please see Daria Dadam, Robert A. Robinson, Anabel Clements, Will J. Peach, Malcolm Bennett, J. Marcus Rowcliffe, Andrew A. Cunningham. Avian malaria-mediated population decline of a widespread iconic bird species. Royal Society Open Science, 2019; 6 (7): 182197 DOI: 10.1098/rsos.182197

 

for a summary go to  http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/07/190716193553.htm.

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