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Mystery as thousands of dead birds fall from Australian sky

 
 
Reply Tue 9 Jan, 2007 11:24 am
Quote:
Mystery as thousands of dead birds fall from sky

By Amanda O'Brien
January 10, 2007

THOUSANDS of birds have fallen from the skies over Esperance and no one knows why.
Is it an illness, toxins or a natural phenomenon? A string of autopsies in Perth have shed no light on the mystery.

All the residents of flood-devastated Esperance know is that their "dawn chorus" of singing birds is missing.

The main casualties are wattle birds, yellow-throated miners, new holland honeyeaters and singing honeyeaters, although some dead crows, hawks and pigeons have also 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."

He expected birds would return to the area once the problem - natural or man-made phenomenon - was fixed but said it was vital the cause was identified.

The Department of Agriculture and Food, which conducted the autopsies, has almost ruled out an infectious process.

Acting chief veterinary officer Fiona Sunderman said toxins were the most likely cause but the deaths could be due to anything from toxic algae to chemicals and pesticides.

Dr Sunderman said there were no leads yet on which of potentially hundreds of toxins might be responsible. Some birds were seen convulsing as they died.

Michelle Crisp was one of the first to contact the DEC after finding dozens of dead birds on her property one morning.

She told The Australian she normally had hundreds of birds in her yard, but that she and a neighbour counted 80 dead birds in one day.

"It went to the point where we had nothing, not a bird," she said.

"It was like a moonscape, just horrible. But the frightening thing for us, we didn't find any more birds after that. We literally didn't have any birds left to die."
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Type: Discussion • Score: 1 • Views: 4,979 • Replies: 66
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kickycan
 
  1  
Reply Tue 9 Jan, 2007 11:33 am
I remember a girl I went down on once, who had obviously not been taking proper care of her area. The instant the smell hit me, I came back up, shellshocked and woozy. For weeks I could not get rid of that stink on my face. Birds dropped from the sky that night too.

I bet she moved to Australia.
0 Replies
 
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Tue 9 Jan, 2007 11:35 am
Obviously it has something to do with geographical locations starting in "Aust." (Shewolf reported that something very similar happened in Austin yesterday.)

Weird, and disturbing.
0 Replies
 
kickycan
 
  1  
Reply Tue 9 Jan, 2007 11:36 am
Are you sure about that, Soz? I think my theory is far more plausible.
0 Replies
 
cjhsa
 
  1  
Reply Tue 9 Jan, 2007 11:38 am
I heard Ted Nugent is vacationing in Oz.
0 Replies
 
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Tue 9 Jan, 2007 11:44 am
sozobe wrote:
Obviously it has something to do with geographical locations starting in "Aust." (Shewolf reported that something very similar happened in Austin yesterday.)

Weird, and disturbing.


Well, a could imagine, it has to do with the once-in-a-generation storm that swept through Esperance last week.

(Esperance has been declared a natural disaster zone after that.)
0 Replies
 
hamburger
 
  1  
Reply Tue 9 Jan, 2007 11:54 am
lake ontario is experiencing a major fishkill caused by a virus .
while the fish killed at first were the plentyful gobies , there are now reports of dozens of muskies having been killed by the virus also .
a ban on using 'baitfish' has now been declared in the hope of preventing the virus from spreading into the rivers and backlakes of lake ontario.
sure makes one a little queasy .
hbg

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------
June 13, 2006, 4:47 PM EDT

SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- Scientists say a fish virus transplanted from Europe is responsible for the deaths of thousands of round gobies in Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River and could threaten other species in the Great Lakes.

The discovery of viral hemorrhagic septicemia virus, or VHS, however, poses no threat to public health, said Maureen Wren, a spokeswoman with the state Department of Environmental Conservation.

DEC scientists are working closely with fish pathologists at Cornell's College of Veterinary Medicine to determine if other fish species in Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River are susceptible to this strain of VHS, as well as which species may act as carriers of the disease.

To date, there is no indication that the strain of VHS identified in Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River is affecting trout and salmon species, the region's' two largest sport species.

***but that's now changed since the daed muskies have been found on the lakeshore !


LAKE ONTARIO FISH KILLED BY VIRUS
0 Replies
 
dadpad
 
  1  
Reply Tue 9 Jan, 2007 11:55 am
there is nothing on line from our major metro dailies.

If this is real it will probably be a water issue. Blue green algae or similar.

Birds in a particular area tend to use the same water source.
0 Replies
 
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Tue 9 Jan, 2007 12:00 pm
dadpad wrote:
there is nothing on line from our major metro dailies.


Online as given as source, offline on page 1 and 2 of the print version

http://i13.tinypic.com/2mmtz6d.jpg
0 Replies
 
dadpad
 
  1  
Reply Tue 9 Jan, 2007 12:01 pm
Sorry,
I have tracked Walters story to "The Australian" which is a major metro daily.

non of the other papaers are running this story at this time. incl Perth
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Tue 9 Jan, 2007 12:51 pm
I can imagine toxic algae doing this, I think... but it seems so weird, every bird...
0 Replies
 
DrewDad
 
  1  
Reply Tue 9 Jan, 2007 02:14 pm
We did have some unusual bird deaths in Austin yesterday, but nothing on this scale.
0 Replies
 
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Tue 9 Jan, 2007 02:29 pm
There have been some earlier news about those Australian nirds:

Quote:
Last Update: Wednesday, January 3, 2007. 10:20am (AEDT)
Poison suspected of causing Esperance bird deaths

The Western Australian Department of Environment believes a toxic substance is responsible for the deaths of more than 100 birds of different species in the Esperance area of WA's south-east.

The department's Mike Fitzgerald has confirmed it is investigating the possibility of a chemical spill or industrial activity which may have caused the bird deaths.

He says it could also be a naturally occurring poison.

Residents initially alerted the department to a large number of dead birds around the Demster Head area near the port, but now more dead birds have been found in other areas.

Mr Fitzgerald says birds have been sent to Perth for autopsies.

"There doesn't seem to be any change in the organs which sort of rules out a long-term infection and that leaves the door open to for some sort of toxin that may have been ingested by the birds," he said.
source

That -earlier- number would be about the seize of those in Austin.
0 Replies
 
DrewDad
 
  1  
Reply Tue 9 Jan, 2007 02:45 pm
I went and locked my doors on word that someone's killing nerds.
0 Replies
 
shewolfnm
 
  1  
Reply Tue 9 Jan, 2007 02:54 pm
Laughing
0 Replies
 
hamburger
 
  1  
Reply Tue 9 Jan, 2007 04:21 pm
the virus killing the fish in the great lakes has been identified as
"viral hemorrhagic septicemia " .

The virus is a pathogen of fish and does not pose any threat to public health.

Relatively common in continental Europe and Japan, prior to 2003 the disease was limited in North America to marine species in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. In freshwater, VHS had been associated primarily with trout and salmon.
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the virus most likely entered the great lakes through fish from europe or japan , carried in the ballast tanks of ships entering the st. lawrence seaway .
ocean-going vessels are supposed to purge their ballast tanks of freshwater - and any fish having hitched a ride from overseas - before entering canadian waters .
of course , it saves some money not doing that and dumping the water into the st. lawrence seaway and lake ontario .
the problems caused by not enforcing the 'purging' of tanks are going to be with us for some time - perhaps forever .
i guess that's the cost of "free enterprise' !
hbg



VIRUS KILLING FISH IN GREAT LAKES
0 Replies
 
squinney
 
  1  
Reply Tue 9 Jan, 2007 04:29 pm
Aussie birds dying in mass, Austin TX birds dying in lots, a noxious smell in NYC that was not normal, and fish dying in the great lakes.

Man, what is going on?
0 Replies
 
DrewDad
 
  1  
Reply Tue 9 Jan, 2007 04:49 pm
Where have Real Life and Momma Angel gotten off to?
0 Replies
 
hamburger
 
  1  
Reply Tue 9 Jan, 2007 04:55 pm
squinney wrote :
Aussie birds dying in mass, Austin TX birds dying in lots, a noxious smell in NYC that was not normal, and fish dying in the great lakes.

Man, what is going on?
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
have you ever heard of "free enterprise" Shocked Question
there is no global warming - but why did we see a caterpillar marching along lake ontario this afternoon in the middle of an ontario 'winter' - with temperatures well above freezing - ground is still not frozen - not a speck of ice on the lake . .
hbg
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Tue 9 Jan, 2007 05:55 pm
Well, the freeze moved south to Albuquerque... trying to avoid the funny fish.
0 Replies
 
 

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