British Columbia

Dead crows mystery unsolved

After an examination of eight dead juvenile crows, a provincial wildlife veterinarian is baffled about what paralyzed and eventually killed dozens of crows.

Veterinarian says she’s never seen anything like it

After an examination of eight dead juvenile crows, a provincial wildlife veterinarian is baffled about what paralyzed and eventually killed dozens of crows. 

In July, Helen Schwantje received reports of paralyzed crows in B.C’s Peace Region.

The reports, which sparked a flurry of public speculation that industry was to blame, prompted wildlife officials to conduct an examination.

"We were very curious about this, so we actually went all the way and had each bird radiographed, and some of them had cat scans as well."

Schwantje says none of the young birds had an infectious virus, such as West Nile, and she says there is no evidence industry played a role.

"I think the public needs to understand that growing birds like this, their bones are not fully mineralized and they're very fragile,” she said.

But there are a few theories, Schwantje says.

One possibility is that the birds suffered some kind of trauma which caused the fractures, but she admits she does not know what the cause was,

Another theory, which Schwantje says is the most rational and logical, is extreme wind may have blown the young birds out of their nests earlier than they normally would have left the nests.

Even though the mystery has not been solved, the provincial investigation is complete. 

With files from the CBC's Marissa Harvey

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.