May 21, 2018
A region-wide effort to better understand West Nile virus in ruffed grouse is getting underway in Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin.
“In the Great Lakes region, West Nile virus has been found in a small number of grouse with no known population-level effects at this point,” said Charlotte Roy, grouse project leader with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. “Still, we want to let hunters know we’re in the first steps of monitoring the virus, and we’re planning to do some limited testing of birds this fall.”
In 2017, West Nile virus was identified in more ruffed grouse in the Great Lakes states than in the past. The virus has been present in Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin for about 17 years.
West Nile virus has been documented in more than 250 species of birds; however, not all birds develop clinical disease from the virus. Corvids (including blue jays and crows) are very prone to illness and death from the virus, while other species may be less so or may not develop symptoms at all.