Birds Falling From the Sky? It's the Government, Of Course! (Or Not)
Relax, kids, it isn't the end of the world, it's just the government!
Via the Christian Science Monitor:
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) took responsibility for hundreds of dead starlings that were found on the ground and frozen in trees in a Yankton, S.D., park on Monday.So they're admitting to euthanizing a couple hundred birdies (there is actually a government program called Bye Bye Blackbird which began in the 1960s) but won't cop to the rest. Fair enough.
The USDA's Wildlife Services Program, which contracts with farmers for bird control, said it used an avicide poison called DRC-1339 to cull a roost of 5,000 birds that were defecating on a farmer's cattle feed across the state line in Nebraska. But officials said the agency had nothing to do with large and dense recent bird kills in Arkansas and Louisiana.
Here's where the story doesn't quite work, though. This DRC 1339 stuff is supposedly low toxicity to humans (considering the crap the FDA lets them pump into us, I'd almost rather lick dead birds off the pavement) but in birds, it rots their kidneys within 5 to 40 hours:
DRC 1339 is absorbed into the bloodstream and impairs the liver and kidney functions.It seems odd that thousands of birds would be out for a stroll in the air as the poison pumped through their little birdy bodies and then suddenly drop dead in the damn sky given the above information. Nor do I recall seeing any images of birds with fluffed out feathers and feet tucked in (maybe tucked backwards since they snapped when they hit the ground). You know, JDA is no scientist but something smells funny and it isn't all the bird shit on these farmers' fields.
Death apparently results from uremic poisoning. The damaged kidneys are unable to excrete the body’s waste products and these build up in the bloodstream
to a lethal level.
The first symptoms of poisoning are an increase in water consumption, followed by a sharp drop in the intake.
About 4 hours before death, the birds cease to eat or drink and become listless and inactive. They perch with feathers ruffled, as in cold weather, and appear to doze. As death nears, breathing increases slightly in rate and becomes more difficult. The birds finally become comatose and die. There are no convulsions or spasms; consequently there are no distress calls or 'spooking' to deter other birds from feeding. Poisoned birds are characterised by fluffed-out feathers and by tucking their feet inside the lower breast feathers.
Try again, dear government, try again.