By WECT Staff | March 9, 2021 at 10:42 AM EST – Updated March 10 at 4:59 AM
LELAND, N.C. (WECT) – Dozens of birds have reportedly died due to unknown causes in Leland, according to local group SkyWatch Bird Rescue.
“After a call to our wildlife hotline, an intake of 12 Grackles at once were received last night on our after hours non contact drop off porch, for urgent care. This is a very unusual intake so we suspected that where they came from, there may be more. Volunteers went out today to search the area and found dozens more in the areas of McDonald’s, KFC, Taco Bell and parking lot of Piggly Wiggly in Leland NC. These birds tend to scavenge parking lots in flocks,” according to a Facebook post.
Unfortunately, many of the birds were dead by the time rescuers got to them, or in catatonic states.
“None of the birds were savable, they were already dying, died in our hands as we carried them to the car, or died during transport. Only 4 are still alive at the clinic. By considering many factors, like the isolated area and species affected, there’s speculation they may be affected by a toxin/poison. Its too soon to say what the cause was but there’s always a concern of other animals eating these dead birds and getting affected secondarily,” according to the group.
A number of the birds had already been scavenged by feral cats in the wooded areas where the birds had fallen from trees.
“Some birds were hiding by bushes and under cars, some were laying on rooftops. We anticipate more birds will become grounded soon so over the next few days we are making an effort to send volunteers to search & collect more birds to make the area safer,” according to SkyWatch.
If you do come across any dead birds do not touch them with your bare hands, instead, bag them in a plastic bag using gloves.
“Please call our hotline and leave a message to report sightings of dead or dying birds so we can collect them. 1855 40 RESCU. Please do not toss them in the woods. Regional wildlife biologists are collecting specimens from our clinic for further testing. Specimens have also been sent off the NC State vet lab for testing, and all state officials are aware of the situation. Stay tuned for more info,” the post concludes.
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