Strange News And The UneXplained!

World News, Unexplained Phenomena, Natural Anomalies!

The mystery of the starling flock (birds) that fell out of the sky

Posted by 3citynewswire on 03/14/2010

The RSPCA (Royal Society for the Protection of Birds) is investigating the sudden death of more than 100 starlings that witnesses claim simply fell from the sky and landed in a front garden.

Julie Knight, a nurse, returned home from a shift at Glastonbury hospital in Somerset to find her small lawn in Coxley littered with scores of dead and dying birds.

The RSPCA has so far failed to find a reason for the birds’ deaths. Disease, toxic chemicals, poison gas clouds and flying into a building or power lines are all considered unlikely or have been discounted.

The birds were close together when they died as most of the corpses fell within the 12ft diameter of Mrs Knight’s garden. Several were still alive and had to be put down when a vet arrived.Mrs Knight was told by a neighbour that the flock “fell” from the sky at 4pm on Sunday, half an hour before she arrived home. She said: “One of my neighbours said they literally seemed to just fall out of the sky. About 70 were dead straight away.

“She said it was like something out of a horror film. It was absolutely terrifying. The sky was raining starlings.” RSPCA animal welfare officer Alison Sparkes was alerted by police and discovered that most of the birds had broken beaks, broken legs and wings and abdominal injuries consistent with impact, but were otherwise in a healthy condition.

Five surviving birds were taken to the RSPCA’s West Hatch wildlife centre in Taunton but had to be put down because of their injuries.

Ms Sparkes said: “It was a remarkable sight and I’ve never seen anything like it before. Onlookers said they heard a whooshing sound and then the birds just hit the ground. They had fallen on to the ground in quite a small area, about 12ft in diameter.

“Our best guess is that this happened because the starlings were trying to escape a predator such as a sparrow hawk and ended up crash landing.”

Lloyd Scott, of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, said it was unlikely that the birds had simply flown into each other. Starlings are well known for their spectacular displays of co-ordinated flight.

Mr Scott said: “Starlings relate each movement to the seven birds closest to them when flying around in a murmuration. They are hardwired into doing this and on instinct they stay away from each other. This is one of the oddest things I’ve ever heard about. We’ve certainly never come across anything similar.”

The best guess is that the flock was simply startled and flew into the ground at speed.


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