It seems to have happened again. This time, in Canada.
On September 14th, people were shocked to witness what they thought were dozens of starlings plunge to the ground. The Canadian Wildlife Service is now investigating the “mortality event” in British Columbia (it is unclear whether they were dead before they hit the ground).
Kevin Beech, who posted the above photo to Facebook, said the scene reminded him of an Alfred Hitchcock movie, “The poor little guys were in blood pools and stuff. It was horrible.”1 And those who witnessed the event told him it was like a mass suicide as the birds crashed to the ground in a big group.
Shawn Phillips, who was picking someone up from the BC Ferries terminal where the event happened, said one of the groups of birds did a loop and then dived straight into the ground.2
This is not normal behavior.
Rob Hope from OWL (Orphaned Wildlife rehabilitation centre) in Delta, B.C., said, “Most of the flocking birds at this time of the year … will not only be stressed but malnourished and that can cause their bodies to shut down and just drop from the sky.”3
Really? REALLY? If it were normal for dozens of birds to dive bomb suddenly due to stress, why on earth don’t we see that type of behavior during loud celebrations? Like the 4th of July?
According to Environment Canada migratory bird biologist Laurie Wilson, the carcasses of the birds were collected and sent to a laboratory for a post-mortem examination to determine a probable cause of death.
We shall see.