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.

Monday, 8 October 2018

Dead and dying birds rain down in unexplained occurrence in Delta

The remains of 42 European starlings have been collected and sent to a lab in nearby Abbotsford in hopes of determining why they died.
Updated: September 21, 2018
A B.C. man who witnessed dozens of birds falling from the sky in Delta says he was horrified by the sight.
“I called it birdageddon. It was really, really creepy,” Kevin Beech said Friday.
The self-described animal lover was driving with a friend just off a busy highway in the community of Tsawwassen on Sept. 14 when the birds started hitting the ground around his vehicle.
“They literally dove face-first into the pavement, it was brutal,” said Beech.
Environment Canada wildlife biologist Laurie Wilson confirmed the remains of 42 European starlings have been collected.
“It’s unusual to have this many birds found dead at the same time in the same place,” she said.
The remains of the birds have been sent to the B.C. Ministry of Agriculture’s animal health lab in nearby Abbotsford. Wilson said preliminary results could be available by the middle of next week, if additional tests are not required.
A network of organizations including the Canadian Wildlife Service and officials with the provincial ministries of Environment and Forests are investigating.
The sight of birds plummeting to earth is not unknown, said Wilson.
“You’d be surprised at how often people call and say they’ve seen birds falling dead out of the sky. It does happen. People report it. I haven’t seen it, but people report it.”
Beech, however, is still rattled by what he saw, comparing it to a scene from an Alfred Hitchcock film.
“It was horrible,” he said.
“Like Alfred Hitchcock creepy.”

Mystery solved for dozens of birds plummeting to death from the sky in B.C.

Updated: September 26, 2018

VANCOUVER — A natural occurrence is behind the unusual deaths of about 40 starlings that plummeted to the ground in Delta, B.C., earlier this month.

When Vancouver resident Kevin Beech witnessed the birds falling from the sky, he called it “birdageddon,” saying it was really creepy.

But a statement from Environment and Climate Change Canada’s Wildlife Service says the flock of birds was being chased by a much larger bird just before the starlings hit the ground.

The service says the cloud of birds swooped toward the ground and then pulled back up but the tail end of the swarm didn’t and about 200 birds hit the ground, killing 42 starlings on impact.

A veterinarian pathologist with the B.C. Ministry of Agriculture conducted a necropsy and found the cause of death was a chest injury and there was no evidence of underlying infectious disease or intoxication.

The service says European starlings can form very large flocks and they execute amazing swooping and whirling patterns, called a murmuration, to avoid a predatory bird.


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