Thoughts on Birds and WNV

mapste mapste at
Tue Sep 17 14:38:14 PDT 2002

I'm wondering if anyone has any thoughts or has seen anything written specifically on birdfeeding and West Nile Virus. A neighbor is panicking about WNV and wants me to take down my birdfeeders and birdbaths. He says birds carry WNV so he doesn't want me to attract birds here. It is my understanding that the disease does not transmit from bird to bird, or bird to human.

Do we cause any increased risk to birds or humans by feeding birds? Do we potentially attract infected birds, which are bitten by mosquitoes which then bite and infect other birds or humans? I change my birdbath water every 1-2 days so I don't think I have a standing water problem. Do we cause any increased risk by providing water to birds?

I wanted to suggest to him that we should attract MORE birds, like mosquito-eating swallows, but if this neighbor's response to birds in general is typical, I'm out of luck. Another option is attracting bats, but that won't go over well either, I'm sure. I'd love to see education on natural types of mosquito control, not just the DEET repellant that the health departments are recommending.

Marlene Penry
Ocean Shores WA
mapste at

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