New Brunswick

Birds are dying in Campbellton area and hunger could be cause

Campbellton resident Geniva Anderson said she's found four dead birds in the past two days.

Birds have been flying into windows, cars and fences and then dying on lawns in the area

In Campbellton and surrounding areas, birds are flying into windows, cars and fences and then dying. (Submitted by Geniva Anderson)

Campbellton, N.B., resident Geniva Anderson says she's found four dead birds in the past two days.

"We've been having a problem where little birds would fly into our window, into our cars," Anderson said. "Even if the vehicles were parked they'd fly into them, and they'd fly into our fence.

"Some do survive and then they're kind of knocked out for a little bit, but some die. They just don't make it."

Anderson said birds began "dropping like flies" earlier this week in Campbellton and surrounding areas.

She said the birds look disoriented and can't fly well. The phenomenon prompted her to make a Facebook post this week, which garnered comments from others in the community with their own bird mortality stories.

Some birds exhausted from hunger have survived after crashing into objects. Others, have died. (Submitted by Geniva Anderson)

Joe Nocera, an associate professor of wildlife management at the University of New Brunswick in Fredericton, said the birds are likely exhausted from hunger.

"The reason that they seem so disoriented, sluggish — unacrobatic, let's say, is likely because they don't have the energy and they're in some kind of starvation mode," he said.

He said the bird deaths could be the result of environmental or physiological factors.

The birds may have encountered bad weather during their migration, causing them to expend their energy reserves. The birds may also have reached their destination only to find a lack of food, which could be the result of cool temperatures.

People in the Campbellton area have been posting on social media, after seeing multiple small birds fly into their windows, cars and fences. Geniva Anderson found five dead birds around her home this week. But the strange behaviour is not as unusual as some may think, said Joe Nocera, an associate professor of wildlife management at UNB. 8:25

"The cold weather would keep the insects down and they wouldn't be flying around. They'd be immobile and so the birds wouldn't have access to them," Nocera said.

He said events like the one in Campbellton happen every year across the globe. He said they are also sometimes caused by pesticide use, too.

"Several years ago, there was a famous case in Arkansas where about 5,000 black birds died in one single night and that was likely due to local pesticide use."

Nocera said he's not sure whether pesticide use is a factor in Campbellton's case.

 

With files from Shift and Viola Pruss

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