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Birds found dead in Sweden

posted 5 Jan 2011, 14:49 by Sam Mbale   [ updated 5 Jan 2011, 14:51 ]
Amateur pictures showed a large number of dead birds lying on the road on Wednesday (January 5) in Falkoping.

On the night to Wednesday a report came from an eyewitness said that they saw a large number of birds lying in the road.

It was on one of the main passage ways through the Swedish town of Falkoping and they were all dead or dying. More calls started to reach broadcasters and newspapers from people who were quick to draw parallalls to what has happened in Arkansas, USA, last week.

The birds were jackdaws and in the road it was about seventy of them. The SVA, Swedish Veterinary Medicin Institution, was called in and started to investigate but they could not give a direct answer to what had caused the birds death. The mystery seemed just as incomprehensible as the one in Arkansas.

There was no direct action the SVA could see that would cause such a large number of birds like this to simply drop down dead. They mentioned however that fireworks used on New Year's Eve could have played a role and that the birds possibly could have suffered from stress connected to these. Another suggestion was that they somehow could have been poisoned at some earlier stage died from that when the chemicals hit their system.

But then, at midday, came two calls that gave a much more simple answer to what could have happened.

The streets in Falkoping are heavily salted to rid them of ice and snow in the winter. And one woman said that when she and her husband had passed the location where the birds were found in their car the night before, more than a hundred jackdaws seemed to have feasted on the salt that the snowplow had left behind it a short while earlier.

In severe winters crows and jackdaws gather wherever salt can be found and use this as food in lack of a more nutrituous diet. The woman said that she had to slow her car down to almost a standstill before she managed to get passed the birds without killing any of them.

And then shortly after that called a truck driver who, also the night before, confessed that he had run a large number of birds over as he passed Falkoping. He did not think any more about that but when he woke up Wednesday morning he said he realised the road kill had turned into an international news piece.

SVA is now saying that they are still keeping all doors open and is investigating the birds with all safety precautions taken. All clothes that has been in contact with the birds are drenched in alcohol and the dead birds are kept well away from where they could do any harm. Not all birds had external damage and one official from SVA said that it is too early to wafe off the incident as a simple accident on the road.

It seems in other words that the mystery remains unsolved at least for another day.