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.

Sunday, 22 March 2020

Mysterious Deaths of Dozens of Seagulls on Beaches

Mar 15, 2020 10:22 PM EDT

Dozens of seagulls have been dropping like flies on beaches in Horowhenua. Along the stretch of kilometers of the Horowhenua sand beaches, they are dying. People have seen the helpless birds flop, stagger and struggle to fly in vain. They become paralyzed, drop on the sand and die.

This strange phenomenon have been seen in the Kuku and Waikawa beaches since Friday, on March 6, 2020. Beverley Dowling, a Manakau woman, saw a post on Facebook on the mysterious seagull deaths, and rushed quickly to the beach to try to rescue and save the black-backed seagulls which are native to the area. She saw the extent of the problem as she was walking along the beach.

Dowling described what was happening to the seagulls as like being "drugged." She reported that they could not move and are literally dying in front of her eyes. She would have wanted to save some of the birds, but it became quickly apparent to her that they were beyond help. They were in the throes of death, and it was happening very, very fast.

Furthermore, Dowling described how she watched the birds as they appeared to be apparently healthy one moment, then suddenly get paralyzed, and then die, all within 10 minutes. The woman tried counting the helpless birds, but she soon gave up because the numbers were so overwhelming. She described the scene as "quite horrific."

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