(Kevin Beech/Facebook)

Mystery of dead birds in B.C. city solved

Raptor expert says birds were being chased by predator, didn’t recover upon hitting concrete

The case of nearly 50 birds mysteriously dropping dead from the sky in Tsawwassen nearly two weeks ago has a much less supernatural ending than initially thought.

“A big flock of starlings came over the [ferry] causeway. [The flock] balled up and went down and then went up again, but the tail end of the ball hit the ground,” said Rob Hope, the raptor care manager at Delta’s Orphaned Wildlife Rehabilitation Society.

“So all the birds died from trauma.”

READ MORE: ‘Like an Alfred Hitchcock movie’: Birds fall dead from the sky in Tsawwassen

The birds had been found by Kevin Beech on the evening of Sept. 14, as he was picking up a friend from the ferry.

Beech said he had seen about 40 birds lying dead on the ground, surrounded by “little pools of blood.”

Initially, it was believed the birds dropped out of the sky for no reason, but a necropsy revealed they were likely running away from a predator.

The wildlife society spoke to a witness who was there, who said there was a larger bird among the smaller starlings.

Hope said there were about 200 starlings in total, some of which came to and flew away after hitting the ground.

“They crashed into the ground, likely while running away from a falcon of some kind,” Hope said.

“And obviously you smack into the concrete, it’s going to cause some damage.”


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

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