Seperate Mass Bird Deaths in Austin, Texas and Perth, Australia

Posted on January 9, 2007

Esperance, a town near Perth in Western Australia, has been declared a natural disaster area after hundeds of bird dropped dead out of the sky and onto people's lawns. News.com.au reports that no explanation for the sudden death of the birds has 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."
The article said some of the birds were convulsing when they died but no toxin has been identified. In a hopefully completely unrelated incident numerous dead birds were also discovered recently in Austin, Texas and parts of the city were closed temporarily. The cause for the deaths of the Austin birds has also not yet been determined.
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