Dozens of birds have mysteriously fallen out of the sky in Boston, prompting health officials to launch an investigation.
A total of 47 grackles rained down upon the Dorchester neighborhood of Boston on Thursday. The Animal Rescue League of Boston said that 32 of these birds died, either at the scene or afterwards as rescuers attempted to tend to them. The remaining birds are in “good condition” and will be sent to a wildlife center in Grafton, Massachusetts.
The Animal Rescue League said it also gave “emergency treatment” to a cat at the scene, but it died. Another cat also reportedly died, with homeowners advised to keep their cats and dogs indoors and check what they are eating.
“When I arrived, birds would fly, like from a house to a tree, they would flop in the tree and they would fall to the ground,” said Alan Borgal of the Animal Rescue League of Boston. “The weaker ones were just falling right out the sky.”
City officials have sent the dead grackles, which are a type of songbird that travels in flocks, to Tufts University to help determine the cause of death. It is currently unclear whether the birds perished due to a virus, some sort of environmental pollution or intentional poisoning. Test results are expected next week.
“We don’t know what is going on,” John Meaney of the city of Boston’s Inspectional Services told NECN. “So we are investigating all avenues.”
Local resident Willien Pugh told the Boston Herald that his cat was found dying on the back porch as deceased birds fell from the sky.
in 2010 and 2011 also Millions of dead fish surfaced in Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay in the U.S., Tuesday, while similar unexplained mass fish deaths occurred across the world in Brazil and New Zealand. Birds were found dead on a street in Sweden. The news come after recents reports of mysterious massive bird and fish deaths days prior in Arkansas and Louisiana.
The Baltimore Sun reports that an estimated 2 million fish were found dead in the Chesapeake Bay, mostly adult spot with some juvenile croakers in the mix, as well. Maryland Department of the Environment spokesperson Dawn Stoltzfus says “cold-water stress“ is believed to be the culprit. She told The Sun that similar large winter fish deaths were documented in 1976 and 1980.
ParanaOnline reports that 100 tons of sardines, croaker and catfish have washed up in Brazilian fishing towns since last Thursday. The cause of the deaths is unknown, with an imbalance in the environment, chemical pollution, or accidental release from a fishing boat all suggested by local officials.
In New Zealand, hundreds of dead snapper fish washed up on Coromandel Peninsula beaches, many found with their eyes missing, The New Zealand Herald reports. A Department of Conservation official allegedly claims the fish were starving due to weather conditions.
While all three events are likely unrelated, they come after recent reports of mysterious dead birds falling from the sky in both Arkansas and Louisiana. Thousands of dead birds were found in Beebe, Arkansas on New Year’s Eve, and a few days later, around 500 of the same species were found 300 miles south in Louisiana. A Kentucky woman also reported finding dozens of dead birds scattered around her home. In the days prior to New Year’s, nearly 100,000 fish surfaced in an Arkansas river 100 miles west of Beebe. Officials are now saying that fireworks likely caused the Arkansas bird deaths, and power lines may be to blame for the death of the birds in Louisiana.
Some remain skeptical of the explanations. Dan Cristol, a biology professor and co-founder of the Institute for Integrative Bird Behavior Studies at the College of William & Mary, told the AP that he was hesitant to believe fireworks were to blame unless “somebody blew something into the roost, literally blowing the birds into the sky.“
Wednesday, officials in Sweden reported the finding of 50 dead birds on a street, suggesting that cold weather or fireworks were the likely culprit.
Bird deaths and fish kills at smaller numbers aren’t all that uncommon, though the size and proximity of some of the recent events have led people to allege their relation, though officials deny the frequency of these wildlife deaths as being anything other than coincidence.
In August of 2010, tens of thousands of dead fish were reported washing ashore in two separate occasions, 200 miles apart on the East Coast.