01-28-2009, 01:32 AM #1
Mass Bird Deaths Alarm Central New Jersey Community
FRANKLIN, N.J. — The black carcasses of dead starlings still pepper the snowy roads and lawns of central New Jersey's rural Griggstown community three days after federal officials used a pesticide to kill as many as 5,000 of the birds.
Many residents were still getting over their shock Monday from the sudden spate of deaths.
Some were unaware that the deaths resulted from an intentional culling and that the pesticide used was harmless to people and pets.
"It was raining birds," said Franklin Township Mayor Brian Levine. "It got people a little anxious."
The U.S. Department of Agriculture called local police last week and the Somerset County Health Department to warn them that a culling program was under way, but there was no notice that dead birds could fall from the sky, Levine said.
"A lot of us are concerned because it's so odd," said Chris Jiamboi, 49, as his vehicle idled along a stretch of road in Griggstown marked with the flattened remains of dead starlings. "There were a lot of them dead in the roads and no one drives fast enough around here to kill a bird. Then they started showing up dead in people's backyards."
01-28-2009, 06:37 AM #2Former Member
- Join Date
- Aug 2008
Intentional culling? Maybe us oldsters will start dropping dead soon - there's something in the Geritol!
01-28-2009, 09:03 AM #3
Why do they always call it a culling? It's really a killing any way you look at it..
01-31-2009, 12:18 PM #4Registered User
- Join Date
- Jul 2004
- Long Island, NY
They were talking about doing this here on Long Island awhile back because of an overabundance of starlings. Now, they're talking about preventative measures with Canada Geese at LaGuardia.
01-31-2009, 01:41 PM #5
I remember my Grandfather explaining to me that Starlings were introduced into the USA but I can't remember exactly what he said about it.
I do remember he said that as a farmer they were pests.
So I did a little digging and came up with the reasons why Starlings would need to be culled:
"Starlings are considered pests due to all the problems they cause, especially around livestock facilities and near urban roosts. Starlings are responsible for "transferring disease from one livestock facility to another. Tests have shown that the transmissible gastroenteritis virus (TGE) can pass through the digestive tract of a starling and be infectious in the starling feces. TGE can be transmitted on boots, vehicles, stray animals, or already infected livestock. Starlings cause other types of damage such as consuming cultivated fruits and seeds from a recently planted field. "Large roosts that occur in buildings, industrial structures, or, along with blackbird species in trees near homes are a problem in both rural and urban sites because of health concerns, filth, noise, and odor. In addition, slippery accumulations of droppings pose safety hazards at industrial structures, and the acidity of droppings is corrosive." Starlings that roost near airports create a safety problem, with the possibility of the bird getting sucked into the aircraft engines. One of the more serious health concerns that starlings have is the "fungal respiratory disease histoplasmosis. The fungus Histoplasma capsulatum can grow in soils under bird roosts, and spores become airborne in dry weather, especially when the site is disturbed. Histoplasmosis, in its most extreme state can cause blindness and/or death. Another problem starlings have created is that they are in competition with "native cavity-nesting birds such as bluebirds, flickers, woodpeckers, purple martins."
I live in Central Texas and can relate that these birds are more than a nuisance when they aggregate in great numbers. I have seen flocks of these birds that almost cover the sky. They roost near a McDonalds downtown and are very brazen.
I see culling as not cruel but a way to control a population. It's unfortunate that it has to be done."Three things in human life are important: The first is to be kind; the second is to be kind; and the third is to be kind." ~ Henry James
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