Friday, October 2, 2009

Sad news

Bald Eagle detail
Originally uploaded by Laura Erickson
Ithaca the Golden Eagle has died. He was 37 years old. West Nile is an evil disease--it kills us without mercy, and people seem to think it's us birds that transmit it when it's those horrid mosquitoes.

Of course, when they do think through that element, they try to poison the mosquitoes without realizing that every single pesticide designed to kill adult mosquitoes is harmful. The only thing that somewhat reduces them without hurting much else is the Bt designed to kill mosquitoe larvae. Of course, the disease probably made it to America via either a horse or human who had been infected elsewhere before arriving in the U.S., or carelessness in allowing standing water and mosquito larvae to make it here from the Middle East via shipping.

The worst mosquitoes for transmitting the virus are the ones the breed in gutters and other backyard standing water. Diligent people really do make a difference.


Laura Erickson said...

I've deleted a rude comment that was actually, in a round-about though rude way, pointing out an error in this post. Horses are, of course, just as much victims of West Nile Virus as humans and birds are, and it's always mosquitoes that transmit it. When the disease first appeared in North America, I remember news stories saying the first infected horses may have been infected before arriving in the U.S., and may have harbored the disease, so that mosquitoes biting them could then transmit the disease to humans, birds, and other horses. Here is information from the CDC, without a single profanity!

Laura Erickson said...

Although sometimes I allow anonymous comments, I do remove them if they are rude. It's not fair to escape accountability for one's words by hiding under a cloak of anonymity.