Canadian farmer finds flock of dead birds

Jan. 9, 2011 at 5:55 PM
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ST.-AUGUSTIN-DE-DESMAURES, Quebec, Jan. 9 (UPI) -- Another mass bird death has been discovered, this time on a Quebec farm.

Farmer Sylvain Turmel told the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. he found about 80 dead pigeons Dec. 18 on his land in St.-Augustin-de-Desmaures, west of Quebec City.

"I found two dead birds in the morning, which is normal; birds sometimes die," he said. "But when I came back one hour later, another 25 had fallen. In the time it took me to pick them up, five more fell to the ground."

Turmel called police and the fire department. While they were there, more birds fell from the sky.

He said provincial wildlife officials are mystified.

"All they can tell me is that it's not avian influenza, it's not the West Nile virus, and it's not poison. It won't stop. I'm finding more birds every day," he said.

Turmel said that once they fall, the pigeons usually lie on the ground for an hour or two before dying.

David Bird, a wildlife biologist at McGill University in Montreal, said he's been receiving a lot of calls about the phenomenon.

In recent days thousands of birds have suddenly died in the United States and Sweden.

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