Louisiana investigates new mass bird kill

Jan. 4, 2011 at 2:36 PM

LABAREE, La., Jan. 4 (UPI) -- Wildlife officials in Louisiana say they will send some of the dead blackbirds found along a highway this week to a federal lab for testing.

Some of the estimated 500 birds killed in Pointe Coupee Parish would be sent Tuesday to federal wildlife research centers in Wisconsin and Georgia for necropsies.

The blackbirds and starlings apparently fell to earth in Labaree on Monday, a few days after a similar mysterious calamity involving about 3,000 birds was reported in neighboring Arkansas.

Speculation into the incidents has included a lightning strike on an in-flight flock or even the concussion and noise caused by New Year's Eve fireworks.

Louisiana State Wildlife Veterinarian Jim LaCour said weather may have played a role in the Pointe Coupee incident. He told the Baton Rouge (La.) Advocate that cold temperatures could cause a large die-off within a flock weakened by a disease.

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