Saturday, January 08, 2011

DYING BIRD PHENOMENON | And Still More Dead Birds -- Hundreds Line Texas Highway

Highway 155 Bridge at Lake O' the Pines
          

     
By Saul Relativ
Associated Content By Yahoo
1-7-2011

     The list of incidents of sudden deaths of large numbers of birds continues -- this time in Texas. Like all the other dead bird populations reported thus far -- Arkansas, Louisiana, Kentucky, and Sweden --the dead
birds found Wednesday along a stretch of Highway 155 at a bridge at Lake O' The Pines were dark in color -- gray coots, to be precise. But unlike the massive dead bird fall in Arkansas and Louisiana -- and even in Sweden -- experts in Texas were quick to attempt an explanation of the event, blaming the roughly 200 deaths on the birds being hit by passing vehicles.

"People see some birds on the road maybe more than usual people get a little bit nervous and say wow maybe we've got something going on here," Charlie Muller, a Texas parks and wildlife biologist, told KLTV of East Texas.

Game wardens explain that the dead birds resulted from a fairly large population of American coots, or mud-hens, being startled by passing traffic or by the horn from a boat. Aloft and disoriented in the night, the birds, which were seen in large numbers on the bridge prior to all the dead birds being found, might have been flying as a group. Wardens say that the coots are easily startled and often fly low over the bridge. As they passed the bridge in their flight or were preparing to land, they were hit by passing vehicular traffic on the bridge.

It is the simplest answer to the question of how so many may have died so quickly.

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