Dead birds in South Dakota purposely poisoned by USDA (videos)
This week, the US Department of Agriculture announced that hundreds of dead birds found in Yankton, South Dakota were purposely poisoned by the agency.
Upon finding the 200 starlings, many in the area believed the birds had died after freezing to death before the announcement was made. The birds were found lying on the ground or frozen in trees.
According to KTIV, officials initially reported that the birds were late in migrating, thus freezing during a winter cold spell. However, a USDA official telephoned Yankton police to inform them of what actually happened to the starlings.
“They say that they had poisoned the birds about ten miles south of Yankton and they were surprised they came to Yankton like they did and died in our park,” Yankton Animal Control Officer Lisa Brasel told KTIV.
According to the USDA, about 5,000 birds had been causing problems with a local farmer by defecating in his feed meal. Thus, Department of Agriculture officials say due to health concerns for the farmer’s animals and staff, the decision was made to eliminate the birds with poisoned bait.
Carol Bannerman with USDA Wildlife Services told the news outlet “We’re doing it to address, in this case, agricultural damage as well as the potential for human health and safety issues.”
The USDA expressed regret about having to kill the birds and made note that there was no toxic threat to people or animals in the area.
These bird deaths come after many locations worldwide recently reported the death of birds and sea life en masse. These deaths have occurred in areas such as Arkansas, Tennessee, California, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Brazil, New Zealand, Sweden, Britain, Italy, and Quebec.
Authorities in Arkansas believe 5,000 birds died from trauma after being startled by fireworks, while experts theorize that sea life in Britain and New Zealand died due to record cold temperatures. Officials in Sweden believe the fallen birds died from external blows creating internal bleeding in the birds.
Scientists say such mass wildlife deaths are not as unusual as many believe and occur quite frequently.
To see video reports regarding the South Dakota incident, click on the player to the left of this article, or click here.
For a link to track the mass deaths using a custom Google Map, click here.
To see coverage of the Arkansas and Louisiana incidents by NBC Nightly News, click here, and here.
Want to read more US Headlines Examiner articles? Then subscribe to receive continuous updates as articles are published. You can also follow me on Twitter.