The wattle bird, one of several Australian species that have been myteriously
dying around the town of Esperance.
As a former Texan, I took special notice last week when I heard Austin officials temporarily closed the downtown after finding several dozen birds of different species dead there. They never figured out what killed them; poison was the best bet.
Now comes the story of thousands of birds, again of many species, dying in Australia:
Birds fall from sky over town
By Amanda O’Brien
January 10, 2007 01:00am
THOUSANDS of birds have fallen from the skies over Esperance and no one knows why.
Is it an illness, toxins or a natural phenomenon? A string of autopsies in Perth have shed no light on the mystery.
All the residents of flood-devastated Esperance know is that their “dawn chorus” of singing birds is missing.
The main casualties are wattle birds, yellow-throated miners, new holland honeyeaters and singing honeyeaters, although some dead crows, hawks and pigeons have also been found.
Wildlife officers are baffled by the “catastrophic” event, which the Department of Environment and Conservation said began well before last week’s freak storm.
A mystery indeed. Despite rumors about conspiracy theories and such, the authorities so far seem baffled; as in Austin, toxins are suspected, as infectious disease, reports The Australian, has been “almost ruled outl.”
I’d be interested to hear speculation from disease people about what might be going on here.