National Mall visitors watched park police wade through the water collecting more than 20 lifeless birds Saturday afternoon. The latest incident comes just two weeks after 17 other ducks mysteriously died at the reflecting pool. The Environmental Protection Agency and FBI (web) agents have tested the water and the air around the pool, but so far there is no word on what’s causing the ducks to die.
The National Park Service says the deaths are a natural event that is triggered by wildlife existing in an urban environment. They say it happens across the nation, especially in the summer months, when continuous warm water conditions cause bacteria to grow.
Okay, let me get this straight: “a natural event triggered by wildlife existing in an urban environment.” Am I the only one who finds that statement kinda wierd? I mean M. Night Shyamalan, vaguely-scientific-but-totally-uninformative-oooo-eee-ooo weird?
Fortunately, this better-written article from the WaPo clarifies that the birds are dying of avian botulism growing in the overheated, non-circulated water of the artificial pool. So I don’t think M. Night is going to be able to make a film out of this one after all.
Overall, this is a little stranger than the usual DC news, to which I’ve grown inured. For example, I went out last night to go running and saw that just across the street, someone had crashed a stolen SUV into a line of parked cars, knocking several of them up onto the sidewalk/staircases and flipping the SUV over on top of them – right next to the building that burned down last fall because this part of DC “doesn’t have as high pressure as some of the surrounding areas, that’s just the way it is”. Sigh. . . .