BAL­LIS­TIC BIRDS

Fall­ing star­ling mys­tery, owl deaths, goose mis­sile and a fa­tal pheas­ant

Fortean Times - - Strange Days -

More than 200 star­lings fell from the sky onto a street in Draper, Utah, on 29 Jan­uary 2018. Peo­ple on so­cial me­dia spec­u­lated that aliens were to blame – or the flock was poi­soned or hit by lightning. “No aliens, no cloak­ing de­vice,” said Sergeant Chad Carpenter of the city po­lice. “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!” Whether it was mis­di­rec­tion or weather re­lated, some­thing caused the lead star­ling to crash and thanks to the breeds’ tan­dem fly­ing, the rest fol­lowed. While most of the birds were killed, 17 sur­vived and were trans­ferred to a lo­cal re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion cen­tre. fox13now. com, 30 Jan 2018.

Dozens of dead barn owls were found along In­ter­state-84 in south­ern Idaho on 10 Fe­bru­ary 2017. Ni­c­hole Miller and Christina White of Boise were driv­ing home to Boise from Twin Falls when they spot­ted more than 50 dead owls dur­ing a 20-mile stretch near Jerome. Mike Keck­ler, Idaho Fish and Game spokesman, ex­plained that hun­gry barn owls be­come vic­tims of road kill when they tar­get mice along the In­ter­state. “It al­most looks like they fell from the sky,” Miller said. Boise State Univer­sity stu­dent Erin Arnold, who re­cently pub­lished a the­sis on South­ern Idaho’s owl deaths, de­scribed I-84 as hav­ing “one of the world’s high­est road­way mor­tal­ity rates for barn owls”. KBOI News (Idaho),13 Feb 2017; rap­tor­re­search­cen­ter. bois­es­tate.edu/arnold-erin/

Thou­sands of dead and dy­ing bees washed up on a pop­u­lar beach in Naples, Florida, on 7 Fe­bru­ary 2017. Naples res­i­dents said the prob­lem started a few days ear­lier. They were both con­cerned and con­fused. “Why are there bees? Where are they com­ing from? And why are they in a very spe­cific area of the beach?” asked Martha Duff. A bee ex­pert said see­ing bees wash up on a beach was very un­usual. He spec­u­lated it might have

LEFT: Some of the 200 dead star­lings on a street in Draper, Utah. BE­LOW: Erin Arnold ex­am­in­ing a dead barn owl on Idaho’s I-84. BE­LOW LEFT: Robert Meil­ham­mer poses with a dead turkey; a Canada goose later ex­acted re­venge. been any­thing from a nearby pes­ti­cide spray­ing forc­ing them to the wa­ter or a swarm fly­ing over­head that be­came ex­hausted and flew into the wa­ter. [NBC] 8 Feb 2017.

On 1 Fe­bru­ary, Robert Meil­ham­mer, 51, of Crapo, Mary­land, was hunt­ing for wa­ter­fowl in Eas­ton, near the Miles River, with three oth­ers when some­one in the group fired on a flock of Canada geese over­head. One of the geese fell and hit Meil­ham­mer, knock­ing him out and caus­ing se­vere head and fa­cial in­juries. The dead goose also knocked out two of his teeth. He was air­lifted to hos­pi­tal. The bird weighed be­tween 10lb and 14lb (4.56.4kg). wash­ing­ton­post.com, 2 Feb; BBC News, 3 Feb 2018.

A pheas­ant killed a motorcyclist when it hit his hel­met at a com­bined speed of 60mph (100km/h). Robert Pat­ter­son, 51, of Llan­dudno Junc­tion, Gwynedd, frac­tured his skull when the 6lb (2.7kg) bird flew out of a hedgerow on a coun­try road in Wales last Novem­ber. “It was a sig­nif­i­cant im­pact,” said a pathol­o­gist at the in­quest in Caernar­von. “It was in­stant death.” Pat­ter­son suf­fered fur­ther in­juries as his bike went into a bank. D.Tele­graph, 22 Feb 2018.

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