Doves fall from sky in Italy

Jan. 8, 2011 at 10:50 AM
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FAENZA, Italy, Jan. 8 (UPI) -- More than 1,000 turtledoves are among the birds found dead in northern Italy and all had blue tinge to their beaks, officials said.

Scientists said the blue colorization indicates poisoning or hypoxia, which is a lack of oxygen that can confuse animals, The Daily Telegraph reported.

Authorities said millions of dead fish are also washing up on riverbanks and coastlines. Italian officials said testing to determine the cause of death are expected Monday.

The report in Italy follows reports of similar bird and fish deaths in Arkansas, Texas, Sweden and New Zealand.

Most of Italy's dead birds were found around an industrial estate on the outskirts of the town of Faenza.

A local newspaper writing about the deaths said it hoped there is a simple explanation for the incidents.

"Let's hope it is poisoning or an illness because that would be easier to deal with than it being a sign the world is coming to an end," the newspaper said.

A member of the local World Wildlife Federation said it is receiving reports of more dead birds daily.

"Tests are being carried out on the bodies by the local forestry commission and we should get the results next week but it's the numbers that make this such a notable event and for the moment it is a mystery," said World Wildlife Federation member Massimo Bolognesi.

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