Yet another one of the incidents in the much-publicized global mass animal death story -- which nobody really cared about, anyways -- has been stripped of its mystery. The hundreds of dead birds that were discovered in South Dakota have been revealed to not have been killed by massive temperature shifts or a secret aural death ray, but by the US Department of Agriculture.The birds, which were found dead, scattered on the ground and frozen in trees, were initially speculated to have been killed by freezing weather. But the US Government has come forward and claimed responsibility -- it turns out that the USDA was intentionally poisoning the birds in order to exterminate a small population that was defecating in a farm's feed meal. Evidently, they were contaminating the feed, and posing a threat to farm workers and the livestock.
The Huffpo Green reports that "A bait laced with the poison DRC-1339 was used, though officials were surprised the birds made it so far before dying. [USDA Officials] assure that the poisoned dead birds do not pose a risk to nearby animals or humans."
This kind of extermination is actually quite common, and typically residents are pleased to be rid of the nuisance -- but the fact that they were discovered so far from where they were poisoned, paired with the mass animal death hysteria, trumped up concerns that something else was afoot. As we've pointed out, millions of birds die in the United States every day, and the self-perpetuating paranoia that comes with these discoveries is probably the most unusual thing about them. That said, hopefully these events will help raise awareness of the myriad environmental factors that kill birds in the long run -- just because the deaths aren't unusual doesn't make all of them acceptable.
More on the Mass Animal Deaths
Mass Animal Deaths Around the World: Dead Birds Fall from Sky, Millions of Fish & Crabs Wash Ashore
Google Map Reveals Weird Weather Caused Half of Mass Animal Deaths
Quick Guide to the Mass Animal Die-Off (Video News)