(From THE AUSTRALIAN newspaper) Thousands of birds fall from sky By Amanda O'Brien January 10, 2007 01:00am Article from: Font size: + - Send this article: Print Email THOUSANDS of birds have fallen from the skies over Esperance and no one knows why.
Is it an illness, toxins or a natural phenomenon? A string of autopsies in Perth have shed no light on the mystery.
All the residents of flood-devastated Esperance know is that their "dawn chorus" of singing birds is missing.
The main casualties are wattle birds, yellow-throated miners, new holland honeyeaters and singing honeyeaters, although some dead crows, hawks and pigeons have also been found.
Wildlife officers are baffled by the "catastrophic" event, which the Department of Environment and Conservation said began well before last week's freak storm.
On Monday, Esperance, 725km southeast of Perth, was declared a natural disaster zone.
District nature conservation co-ordinator Mike Fitzgerald said the first reports of birds dropping dead in people's yards came in three weeks ago. More than 500 deaths had since been notified. But the calls stopped suddenly last week, reportedly because no birds were left.
"It's very substantial. We estimate several thousand birds are dead, although we don't have a clear number because of the large areas of bushland," Mr Fitzgerald said.
Birds Australia, the nation's main bird conservation group, said it had not heard of a similar occurrence. "Not on that scale, and all at the same time, and also the fact that it's several different species," chief executive Graeme Hamilton said. "You'd have to call that a most unusual event and one that we'd all have to be concerned about."
He expected birds would return to the area once the problem - natural or man-made phenomenon - was fixed but said it was vital the cause was identified.
The Department of Agriculture and Food, which conducted the autopsies, has almost ruled out an infectious process.
Acting chief veterinary officer Fiona Sunderman said toxins were the most likely cause but the deaths could be due to anything from toxic algae to chemicals and pesticides.
Dr Sunderman said there were no leads yet on which of potentially hundreds of toxins might be responsible. Some birds were seen convulsing as they died.
Michelle Crisp was one of the first to contact the DEC after finding dozens of dead birds on her property one morning.
She told The Australian she normally had hundreds of birds in her yard, but that she and a neighbour counted 80 dead birds in one day.
"It went to the point where we had nothing, not a bird," she said.
"It was like a moonscape, just horrible. But the frightening thing for us, we didn't find any more birds after that. We literally didn't have any birds left to die."
* I have a dry sense of humour, any sarcasm that offends was not meant to do so.
* I am a sceptic at heart, however am open minded to new ideas and experiences
* If i dont reply ive probably lost track of the thread overnight and cannot be bothered to trawl through new posts
A neoconservative is a "liberal mugged by reality," one who became more conservative after seeing the results of liberal policies.Iriving Kristol
Posted 10 January 2007 - 04:08 PM
January 08, 2007 Were dead birds in Austin, Texas, poisoned? Were dead birds that closed downtown Austin, Texas, poisoned by building owners for pooping on their buildings?
A wire story just filed by Associated Press writer Jim Vertuno, states that police shut down 10 blocks of businesses in the heart of downtown Austin, Texas, early today "after dozens of birds were found dead in the streets." Officials said preliminary tests showed no dangerous chemicals in the air.
The story said "as many as 60 dead pigeons, sparrows and grackles were found overnight along Congress Avenue, a main route through downtown." No human injuries or illnesses were reported.
Interestingly, all three birds are typical of those types of urban birds that perch in large flocks on rooftops, gutters and sidewalks around buildings and make enormous messes that building owners have to clean up.
Grackles are crow-size birds, black with iridescent heads, backs and bellies that normally inhabit urban areas in the Midwest and Eastern parts of the United States. Weíre all familiar with pigeons and sparrows. All three of the bird species eat just about anything they find on city streets, especially seeds.
And seeds are what angry building owners sometimes use to poison these birds so they donít poop on their buildings. It has happened in other cities in the past. I wouldnít be surprised if thatís what they discover after just about every medical testing facility in Austin, and quite a few that arenít, finishes testing the bodies of the dead birds.
Nothing happens in contradiction to nature, only in contradiction to what we know of it. - Dana Scully, The X-Files
Posted 10 January 2007 - 07:52 PM
I would hazard a guess at this being a particularly virulent virus. It'll probably pass, but hopefully not too many birds will be dead by then. Imagine: 'Excuse me, Mr. Councillor-type-person. I found this dead pigeon in my garden this morning.' 'No, s'just pining.' 'It's not pining, it's passed on!'
^All hail Monty Python
At least it's not happening in Britain...Our precious, drab, boring sparrows shall always survive.
Attempting to sound vaguely intellectual since 2006
My girlfriend killed her bird by leaving a teflon frying pan on the stove while she answered the door. She forgot it was on and when she came back there was a fume in the air and the next day the bird was dead.