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Federation of New York State Bird Clubs, Inc.

[letter on possible effects of West Nile virus on Crow populations]

March 10, 2003

Gerry Barnhart, Director
Division of Fish, Wildlife and Marine Resources
NY State Dep’t of Environmental Conservation
625 Broadway, Albany, NY 12233-4750

Dear Mr. Barnhart:

I am writing on behalf of our organization to inquire as to the Department of Environmental Conservation’s assessment of current American Crow populations in New York State and whether any changes to crow hunting seasons or bag limits are under consideration.

As you are aware, populations of a number of avian species have been negatively impacted by the spread of West Nile virus in New York and other states. American Crows are particularly susceptible to WNV, with many specimens confirmed as infected with the disease by government agencies. Although crow populations have been considered steady or increasing, there is a very real possibility that WNV could dramatically reverse that trend.

We hope that the Department is taking a thorough look at the status of crows in the state and the effects of WNV on this species. It is important that, even though crows are considered abundant in the state, these birds be monitored closely to allow changes in management of the species if they are in decline.

Please contact me with any information you may have on this issue.

Sincerely,

Andrew Mason
Conservation Co-chair


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