Pop Quiz

1. You think the moths are bad? Guess what? There are other flying threats. State labs are testing for West Nile virus. What species are they not looking for?

A. Crows

B. Magpies

C. Hummingbirds

D. Ravens

2. According to scientists, a bird is a good specimen if it has:

A. What appear to be crosses in place of its eyes.

B. Been dead less than two days.

C. Little flecks of bird spittle on its beak.

D. Hyper-calibrated wing muscles.

3. Science can be exacting. As a rule, our virus wardens want carcasses that are:

A. Dried out.

B. Smelly.

C. Infested with maggots.

D. Corvids.

4. If you plan on becoming a dead-bird detective, you must know this fact. What is it?

A. The exact location in which the bird body was found.

B. The time of day the bird was discovered.

C. The last meal pecked by the bird.

D. The direction the bird was pointing at the time of its demise.

5. Which other creatures are being tested for the virus?

A. Ips beetles.

B. Mosquitoes.

C. Miller moths.

D. Monarch butterflies.

6. Cultural bonus: In Alfred Hitchcock's 1960 suspense flick The Birds, winged critters attacked humans. In the scene in which star Tippi Hedren gets flocked, the filmmaker did this to achieve the effect:

A. Hired a trainer with kamikaze crows.

B. Tied the fowl to Hedren with nylon lines.

C. Used a painstaking post-production process to "impose" bird images.

D. Got lucky with a nasty flock of seagulls.


1. C. Hummers are not part of the sample (nor are sparrows, pigeons, finches or songbirds).

2. B. Has to have croaked within the last 48 hours.

3. D. They want corvids -- a fancy name for crows, jays, et al.

4. A. Please recall the exact location. After all, scientists are trying to track the spread of the disease.

5. B. Pesky mosquitoes are also known carriers of the virus.

6. B. The bird stars were tethered to Tippi. Yikes!


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