Prevalence and Effects of West Nile Virus on Wild American Kestrel (<i>Falco Sparverius</i>) Populations in Colorado

Robert J. Dusek, William M. Iko and Erik K. Hofmeister

in Emerging Avian Disease

Published by University of California Press

Published in print April 2012 | ISBN: 9780520272378
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520952201 | DOI:
Prevalence and Effects of West Nile Virus on Wild American Kestrel (Falco Sparverius) Populations in Colorado

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To assess the potential impacts of West Nile virus (WNV) on a wild population of free-ranging raptors, we investigated the prevalence and effects of WNV on American Kestrels (Falco sparverius) breeding along the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains in northern Colorado. We monitored kestrel nesting activity at 131 nest boxes from March to August 2004. Of 81 nest attempts, we obtained samples from 111 adults and 250 young. We did not detect WNV in sera; however, 97.3% (108/111) of adults tested positive for WNV neutralizing antibodies. In contrast, 10.0% (23/240) of chicks tested positive for WNV neutralizing antibodies, which possibly represented passive transfer of maternal antibodies. Clutch size, hatching, and fledging success in our study did not differ from that previously reported for this species, suggesting that previous WNV exposure in kestrels did not have an effect on reproductive parameters measured in the breeding population we studied in 2004.

Keywords: American Kestrel; Colorado; Falco sparverius; raptor; reproductive success; Phthiraptera; West Nile virus

Chapter.  5084 words. 

Subjects: Vertebrates

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