300 starlings found dead in South Dakota

Jan. 18, 2011 at 7:01 PM
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YANKTON, S.D., Jan. 18 (UPI) -- In the latest in a string of bird deaths, more than 300 starlings found dead in downtown Yankton, S.D., were probably poisoned, wildlife officials said.

City officials said poison used at a local feed lot is believed to be the cause, the Yankton Press & Dakotan reported Tuesday.

Yankton Animal Control Officer Lisa Brasel said DRC 1339, a bird poison commonly used by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, has been confirmed as the likely cause.

Brasel said a USDA official contacted her Tuesday afternoon after seeing news of the dead birds.

Wildlife biologist Ricky Woods confirmed DRC 1339 was used by the USDA at a feedlot about 10 miles south of Yankton.

While birds usually die before getting so far from the source of the poison, it is not unknown, he told the Press & Dakotan.

The poison is not a threat to humans or other animals, he said.

Other birds die-offs have been reported recently, including an estimated 5,000 blackbirds that dropped dead in Beebe, Ark., on New Year's Day and hundreds more birds found dead by a highway in Athens, Ala.

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