Dead Birds. They did it.
As a followup to my post Everyone Panic. Or Not., I have an update.
The story of mass animal deaths has quelled but not died off completely because people keep finding dead animals. News outlets are reporting that the USDA is responsible for poisoning the birds because they were being a nuisance. The best article, with actual sources, is here from the Yankton (S.D.) Press. The article notes that the starlings were aggressive, consuming feed from a livestock facility. Like I mentioned at the beginning of my previous post, these same birds attack my pear tree in a swarm and freak me the hell out.
These particular birds, European starlings, are a non-native introduction to the U.S. and have become an invasive species. They are pests that displace other birds and cause destruction. It seems reasonable that some other of the mass deaths were caused by poisoning – either intentional or not (such as the starlings eating wine waste and becoming intoxicated). However, the headlines are sensational “Hundreds of Dead Birds Killed by U.S. Government”. Yeah, way to be objective and not cause crazy reactions from a panicked public… Fear mongers. This feeds the paranoia of government in the country today.
Pigeons and other nuisance wildlife used to be poisoned regularly to eradicate them. This is a messy and dangerous way of controlling their numbers that is not used so much anymore. I’m not sure this was the best choice, considering the potential consequences but we seem to be at war with some plant and animal invaders.
Note to commenters: I’m not interested in any more conspiracy theories or wild speculation without evidence about the end of the world or natural catastrophes about to happen. So, I probably won’t publish your comment if you try to lecture me. Sorry.