When it comes to birds, there may be more than just avian flu to be worried about. It has been suggested that there are over 60 other diseases that birds and their droppings can carry. The problem is especially worrisome in residential areas, as many of them are airborne and can be transferred to humans just by being around droppings.
Chicken farms can be fairly easily secured. With a combination of visual scare devices, sonic distress call emitters, ultrasonic disrupters and roost inhibitors other birds shouldn't be a problem. If farmers just took this preventative action it could help contain the bird flu outbreak a good deal.
Examples of transmissible bird diseases associated with pigeons, geese, starling and house sparrows:
- Histoplasmosis is a respiratory disease that may be fatal. It results from a fungus growing in dried bird droppings.
- Candidiasis is a yeast or fungus infection spread by pigeons. The disease affects the skin, the mouth, the respiratory system, the intestines and the urogenital tract, especially the vagina. It is a growing problem for women, causing itching, pain and discharge.
- Cryptococcosis is caused by yeast found in the intestinal tract of pigeons and starlings. The illness often begins as a pulmonary disease and may later affect the central nervous system. Since attics, cupolas, ledges, schools, offices, warehouses, mills, barns, park buildings, signs, etc. are typical roosting and nesting sites, the fungus is apt to found in these areas.
- St. Louis Encephalitis, an inflammation of the nervous system, usually causes drowsiness, headache and fever. It may even result in paralysis, coma or death. St. Louis encephalitis occurs in all age groups, but is especially fatal to persons over age 60. The disease is spread by mosquitoes which have fed on infected house sparrow, pigeons and house finches carrying the Group B virus responsible for St. Louis encephalitis.
- Salmonellosis often occurs as "food poisoning" and can be traced to pigeons, starlings and sparrows. The disease bacteria are found in bird droppings; dust from droppings can be sucked through ventilators and air conditioners, contaminating food and cooking surfaces in restaurants, homes and food processing plants.
- E.coli. Cattle carry E. coli 0157:H7. When birds peck on cow manure, the E. coli go right through the birds and the bird droppings can land on or in a food or water supply.
Besides being direct carriers of disease, nuisance birds are frequently associated with over 50 kinds of ectoparasites, which can work their way throughout structures to infest and bite humans. About two-thirds of these pests may be detrimental to the general health and wellbeing of humans and domestic animals. The rest are considered nuisance or incidental pests.
A few examples of ectoparasites include:
- Bed bugs (Cimex lectularius) may consume up to five times their own weight in blood drawn from hosts which include humans and some domestic animals. In any extreme condition, victims may become weak and anemic. Pigeons, starlings and house sparrows are known to carry bed bugs.
- Chicken mites (Dermanyssus gallinae) are known carriers of encephalitis and may also cause fowl mite dermatitis and acariasis. While they subsist on blood drawn from a variety of birds, they may also attack humans. They have been found on pigeons, starlings and house sparrows.
- Yellow mealworms (Tenebrio molitor), perhaps the most common beetle parasites of people in the United States, live in pigeon nests. It is found in grain or grain products, often winding up in breakfast cereals, and may cause intestinal canthariasis and hymenolespiasis.
- West Nile Virus while West Nile is technically not transmitted to humans from birds, humans can get infected by the bite of a mosquito who has bitten an infected bird. The obvious lesson is that the fewer birds there are in any given area, the better. This translates into a smaller chance of an infected bird in that area, a smaller chance of a mosquito biting an infected bird and then biting a human.Most of our domesticated pigeons have a common ancestor, the Rock Dove pigeon.
____________All you need to know about pigeons._____________________________________
Racing Homing Pigeons have been clocked flying 92.5 mph average speed on a 400 mile race.
Homing Pigeons have been known to fly 700 miles in a day.
Pigeons have flown in many wars, including both WWI & WWII. They have saved countless lives.
Pigeons achieved a 98% success rate in the missions flown in WW II, despite enemy fire, and often with mortal injuries to themselves.
In the World Wars, flying pilots carried pigeons in case they had to ditch their plane, they would release the bird for help. Many pilots owe their lives to a pigeon.
Pigeons are still used today by the French, Swiss, Israeli, Iraqi and Chinese Armies.
Pigeons proved valuable in the Gulf War, as their messaging was not affected by the electronic jamming.
They have been proposed to be used by the Project Sea Hunt (U.S. Coast Guard) to spot life jackets out in the open sea.
Noah's Dove was most likely a homing pigeon.
They were used by many for communication before the telegraph was invented.
They were used by the Greeks more than 5,000 years ago.
They can and are ready to breed at the age of 5 to 6 months.
They can breed as old as 10 years of age, and have been helped to breed past that.
They are bred, raised and trained as good as Thoroughbred Horses.
Around the world there are about 5 races a year with Million Dollar Purses.
There are more than a million fanciers around the world that keep pigeons, meaning there are more than 4 million kept pigeons.
Both parents feed their young milk.
They have been known to see very well over a 26 mile distance.
Scientist believe they may hear wind blowing over mountains from hundreds of miles away.
In the late 1800 the most heroic recorded flight was from a pigeon that was released in Africa and took 55 days to get home in England. Traveling over 7,000 miles.
A pigeon is about 13 inches from beak to tail.
Unless separated, pigeons mate for life.
A full grown pigeon has about 10,000 feathers.
They have been known to live over 30 years.
In the 17th century, King George I of England, decreed all pigeon droppings to be property of the Crown—and the "lofts" were policed to enforce the law! (Pigeon manure was used in making gunpowder)
The pigeon beats its wings up to ten times per second, while maintaining a heart rate of 600 beats per minute up to 16 hours without rest.
The pigeon has the rare ability for a large bird to be able to fly nearly straight up.
Many of the city pigeons feed on grain in the country.
Advanced studies at the University of Montana conclude: "Pound for pound, columba livia (the pigeon) is one of the smartest, most physically adept creatures in the animal kingdom."
Queen Elizabeth II races pigeons from the Royal Lofts at Sandringham.
Pigeons are the only bird in the world that do not have to lift their head to swallow water.
When the pigeon is in long flight, it reaches back and holds on to the short tail feathers with its feet in order to save energy from holding its legs up.
During breeding season, when there are more than a few babies on the floor, all parents will feed all babies, even if they are not their own.
In the mid 1800's, the Reuters News Agency operated a live telex service using Homing Pigeons.
The ability to hear sounds 11 octaves below middle C allow the pigeons to detect earthquakes and electrical storms.