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Residents in Draper, Utah are confused after more than 200 birds fell from the sky onto the street Monday.
“It’s one of the rarest things I’ve ever heard of,” Sergeant Chad Carpenter with the Draper City Police Department, told KSTU.
“As I was driving, these birds were just falling out of the sky,” said Draper resident Lacey Brown.
“They were all on the ground right around here and on the roadway,” Brown said, “They were just falling out of the sky like leaves,” she added.
But they weren’t leaves, they were hundreds of small birds called starlings.
“You’ve seen that black cloud as it’s flying all over the place. Well, that’s a starling group and they call that flying tandem or murmuring,” Sgt. Carpenter said.
Experts said it’s a technique they use to stay warm during the winter and to ward of birds of prey.
People on social media speculated that aliens were to blame, the flock was poisoned or hit by lightning, but in this circumstance that wasn’t the case.
“No aliens, no cloaking device,” Carpenter said, “No poison, it was just one of those freak things where the birds were just flying along, crashed into the side of a large vehicle and boom,” he added.
Whether it be misdirection or weather related, something caused the lead starling to crash and thanks to the breeds’ tandem flying, the rest followed.
Brown said she pulled over to help and saw one man shoveling the birds out of the road.
Draper Animal Services was also on scene to clear the birds and collect any that were still alive.
“It was not a sight for the faint of heart,” Brown said.
“It was weird, just a weird one,” Carpenter said.
While this is rare, Draper Police Department says if something like this happens to you, report it.
17 birds are still alive and were transferred to a local rehabilitation center, the hope is they will recover and be released back into the wild.
Courtesy of fox8.com
Hundreds of birds are dying in Yucatan, Mexico
Iraq has reported an outbreak of a highly pathogenic bird flu strand, prompting the government to cull thousands of birds in a bid to stop the disease from spreading in the country.
According to the Paris-based World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), the virus was discovered at a farm in Diyala province at the end of 2017. The avian influenza strain H5N8 killed 7,250 birds before Iraqi officials culled the remaining 35,750, the Iraqi Ministry of Agriculture reported.
The birds showing symptoms of bird flu in the country will simply be killed, not medicated, according to the ministry. They have also indicated they will impose stricter measures to restrict the movement of live poultry in Iraq.
Bird flu virus returned to Iraq in 2016, the first occurrence of the disease in 10 years. At the time, hundreds of thousands of birds were put down as part of protection measures.
Despite the province of Diyala having been liberated from the Islamic State (IS), the area still suffers from instability as reconstruction efforts have yet to gain momentum. Remaining IS militants and lack of infrastructure and basic services impede the full return of internally displaced persons (IDPs) to the area.
Baghdad had banned the sale of chickens from the Kurdistan Region in the center and south of Iraq in 2016 after two cases of bird flu in Duhok were discovered.
Bird flu, which has affected some 50-some countries, including neighboring countries like Iran, has forced the Kurdistan Region and Iraq to ban chicken products from certain countries.
Courtesy of kurdistan24.net
The Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported on Saturday that seven cases of H5N8 avian flu had been recorded in the country in the previous 24 hours, five in Riyadh, one in Qassim and one in Tarout Island.
Field teams in Kharj and Dharma provinces have instigated a cull of infected birds on two poultry farms — with 813 birds safely disposed of in Dharma — while an overall emergency plan is being implemented to clear the infected areas.
In Ahsa province, teams finalized measures to safely cull 1,325 birds on a number of farms where the H5N8 virus was detected. In Qassim, 800 birds were euthanized.
Veterinary teams from the Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture conducted 25 inspections of markets and bird-breeding farms across the Kingdom in the 24 hours before the SPA report.
The ministry has banned all poultry farms, transport firms and bird breeders from transporting birds between different regions of the Kingdom without obtaining the necessary licenses.
It also asked bird breeders in the Kingdom to avoid purchasing live birds from unknown sources, and taking their birds to unauthorized markets, in order to minimize the spread of the H5N8 avian flu.
The director of Animal Resources Services, Dr. Ibrahim Qasim, said 358,134 birds infected with the H5N8 virus have been destroyed across the Kingdom as of Friday.
Speaking to Al-Riyadh daily, he said all reported cases outside Riyadh region originated from private fenced yards and traditional farms, while some cases were reported at three poultry projects in the Riyadh region.
Dr. Abdullah Kadman, a member of the board of directors at the Saudi Poultry Producers Association, said the ministry’s ban on transporting birds between regions is expected to be lifted within two weeks.
Head of the National Committee for Poultry Producers, Jamal Al-Sadoun, has requested strict compliance with the ministry’s instructions on the transfer of birds between regions to curb the spread of the disease. He confirmed that the infections were centered in the Riyadh region, specifically Dharma, Muzahmiyah and Hiraimla.
A reported 850 samples have been sent to the Riyadh-based Veterinary Diagnosis Laboratory since the latest outbreak of the disease, some based on reports from citizens, and some randomly collected from infected areas.
Courtesy of arabnews.com
Russia has reported an outbreak of highly pathogenic H5N2 bird flu on a farm in the central region of Kostromskaya Oblast that led to the death of more than 660,000 birds, the Paris-based World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) said on Friday.
The virus killed more than 44,000 birds in an outbreak first detected on Dec. 17, the OIE said, citing a report from the Russian Ministry of Agriculture.
The rest of the 663,500 birds on the farm were slaughtered, it said in the report. It did not specify the type of birds that were infected.
It is the first outbreak of the H5N2 strain in Russia this year but the country has been facing regular outbreaks of H5N8 since early December last year, with the last one reported to the OIE detected late November.
Bird flu has led to the death or culling of more than 2.6 million poultry between December last year and November this year, a report posted on the OIE website showed.
Neither the H5N2 or H5N8 strains has been found in humans.
The virulence of highly pathogenic bird flu viruses has prompted countries to bar poultry imports from infected countries in earlier outbreaks.
Courtesy of reuters.com
The appearance of hundreds of dead birds on a road in northern Sweden has left both laymen and experts nonplussed.
The bizarre vision of a road strewn with bird corpses was first encountered by Mikael Lind, a native of Örnsköldsvik, when he drove on the Gottnevägen thoroughfare.
By his own admission, hundreds of dead common redpolls were scattered in the middle of the road covering an estimated 25-meter stretch, a sight he himself found “surreal.”
“At first I thought it was rocks or pebbles, so I slowed down, but as I drove closer, it turned out to be birds. But they didn’t move and lay motionless as some of the birds smashed into the car and were stuck in the radiator,” Mikael Lind told national broadcaster SVT about his experience.
Lind then turned back to examine the strange encounter closer.
“I started to creep closer and saw hundreds of them lying there dead. Hundreds more were circulating around the place,” Lind continued.
The road was recently covered with gravel to prevent icing, and Lind attributed the mysterious mass death of the redpolls to poisoning.
Örnsköldsvik Municipality biologist Anders Forsberg, however, rejected the poisoning theory.
“A likely theory is that they became weak and did not have the energy to fly away, but it’s hard to say for sure. What the SVA [Sweden’s National Veterinary Institute] found strange that so many birds died at the same time,” Anders Forsberg told the Allehanda newspaper.
Peter Nilsson of the Västernorrland County Administrative Board, however, is convinced the birds were hit.
“Somebody must have driven straight into the flock, which is almost like a swarm of flies. Once I was close to doing so myself,” Nilsson told SVT.
According the Nilsson, the fact that the road was strewn with gravel is a reasonable explanation as well, as the birds are generally interested in gravel which helps them with digestion.
Nilsson also said 2017 was a record year in common redpolls. So far, over 25,000 sightings have been reported, of which 700 were in the county.
The common redpoll (Acanthis flammea) is a species of the finch family. Its rage extends through northern Europe and Asia to North America, Greenland and Iceland. The redpoll moves southward in late autumn and returns again in mid-spring. Its typical habitat is boreal pine, spruce and larch forests, where it feasts mostly on seeds.
Courtesy of sputniknews.com
South Korea’s Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs on Saturday said it had detected a fresh outbreak of bird flu at a farm in the country’s south and ordered the culling of 12,300 fowls as a preventive measure.
South Korean authorities said they were carrying out epidemiological investigations in the affected farms, situated some 300 km southwest of Seoul, to determine whether the detected H5 strain was highly pathogenic.
The results were expected to come in by Tuesday, Yonhap news agency reported.
Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon urged the Ministry to use all available resources to prevent the spread of the virus, such as implementing a ban on moving livestock between places and disinfecting farms.
Meanwhile, the Agriculture Ministry has advised people to refrain from visiting the poultry farms or wild bird sanctuaries in the area, Efe news reported.
The country has witnessed several such outbreaks since last year, including one that led to the culling of over 33 million birds last November, making it the most extensive containment effort ever carried out in South Korea.
The mass culling caused a shortage of eggs in the Asian nation, which forced it to import around 25 million of them from the US and Spain.
Courtesy of thenewsminute.com
48,000 birds killed due to bird flu in Moca, Dominican Republic
Bulgaria has reported two outbreaks of the highly pathogenic H5 bird flu virus, the Paris-based World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) said on Monday.
One outbreak occurred on a farm in the village of Stefanovo in the northeastern region of Dobric. The virus killed 418 birds while the rest of the 10,000-strong flock were slaughtered, the OIE said, citing a report from the Bulgarian agriculture ministry.
The other outbreak was discovered in a backyard in Uzundzhovo in the southern region of Haskovo, where 84 birds died of the virus and the other 64 on site were slaughtered, the report said.
Courtesy of reuters.com