Dead birds falling from sky ‘is not the end of nature’

January 7th, 2011 - 3:18 pm ICT by ANI  

Washington, Jan 7 (ANI): The recent spate of incidents where in one case, 500 red-wing blackbirds died together in Louisiana and in another, 100 jackdaws turned up dead on a street in Sweden, is not an unusual occurrence, say experts.

Wildlife health experts have said that these mortality events happen every year but we are just beginning to notice them now.

“This is really not the unusual thing that people are trying to make it into,” Discovery News quoted Robert Meese, an avian ecologist at the University of California, Davis, as saying.

“A lot of this stuff happens without anyone documenting it.”

Meese added that there are many reasons for such massive die-offs - bad weather, migratory birds accidentally ingesting pesticides or even poisons or birds losing their way due to disorientation by fog or storms.

Records kept by the United States Geological Survey list at least 16 die-offs of more than 1,000 blackbirds or starlings over the past 30 years, said Marisa Lubeck, a spokesperson for the USGS in Denver.

But group deaths among animals have been going on for a lot longer than that. In one case, an estimated 1.5 million Lapland Longspurs died during a March 1904 storm in Minnesota and Iowa.

And such phenomena occur amongst fish, whales, seals and even turtles.

“I think people are very often surprised that this kind of phenomenon happens, that wildlife are susceptible to disease and that there are large outbreaks in the wild, because they often go unseen,” said Paul Slota, a spokesperson for the USGS National Wildlife Health Center in Madison, Wisc.

“I think people should be aware that mortality events in wildlife are normal. They are a fact of life.” (ANI)

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