In a 2-yr study on prevalence of Haemosporidia in an avian community in Ithaca, New York, USA, we tested the hypothesis that apparent seasonal variation in prevalence is influenced by the detection protocol. We confirmed a higher detection of Haemosporidia using a molecular diagnosis technique (PCR) than by microscopy; this further increased when the PCR test was triplicated. Microscopic examination and PCR techniques have different specificity and sensitivity and therefore different probabilities of detecting hemoparasites. Birds with chronic infections or sampled during winter often have very low parasitemia, and such infections may be missed by microscopy but detected by PCR. Haemosporidian prevalence was higher during the breeding season than during the nonbreeding season regardless of the method used. Detection of Leucocytozoon spp. infection from blood smears using microscopy was challenging.

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