As regular CFZ-watchers will know, for some time Corinna has been doing a column for Animals & Men and a regular segment on On The Track... particularly about out-of-place birds and rare vagrants. There seem to be more and more bird stories from all over the world hitting the news these days so, to make room for them all - and to give them all equal and worthy coverage - she has set up this new blog to cover all things feathery and Fortean.

Friday 4 January 2013

Bird strike by vehicle in Long Beach, Wash.: 92 dead, $5,500 reward - UPDATE

Every year, the Wildlife Center of the North Coast in Astoria reports dead birds intentionally hit by motorists on beaches of northwest Oregon and southwest Washington. Usually, one or two animals are killed. But last week, 92 shorebirds died in an apparent vehicle attack on Washington's Long Beach Peninsula.

The strike, one of the biggest ever according to the center, has raised a record reward.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, an animal rights group headquartered in Virginia, offered $5,000 on Monday for information leading to prosecution. The group often puts up money to solve animal abuse cases around the country. But this is the first time it's intervened in a Northwest bird kill, said Stephanie Bell, associate director of PETA's cruelty investigations.

"We were horrified by the allegations," Bell said. "The alleged crime was vicious. Many of the animals had torn wings and died of their injuries."

The kill was reported by two beachcombers out for a mid-day stroll on Thursday along the Long Beach Peninsula. Near the Cranberry Beach entrance, they walked by a large flock of Dunlins, a small Sandpiper-like bird, gathered on the sand. All was fine. But when the pair returned 20 minutes later, carcasses littered the beach. Wide tire tracks were imprinted on the sand in a clear sign of a bird strike.

The couple, horrified, called the wildlife center, which, in turn, notified Washington state law enforcement. Two officers, one from Fish and Wildlife enforcement and another from the Pacific County Sheriff's Office, investigated late Thursday afternoon. They snapped pictures of the birds and examined carcasses.

It was clearly a crime scene, said Sgt. Dan Chadwick  of the Washington state Department of Fish and Wildlife.

"The trauma to the birds was indicative of a vehicle strike," Chadwick said


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