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Were dead birds in Austin, Texas, poisoned?

By Gary Bogue
Monday, January 8th, 2007 at 12:33 pm in Dead birds.

Were dead birds that closed downtown Austin, Texas, poisoned by building owners for pooping on their buildings?

A wire story just filed by Associated Press writer Jim Vertuno, states that police shut down 10 blocks of businesses in the heart of downtown Austin, Texas, early today "after dozens of birds were found dead in the streets." Officials said preliminary tests showed no dangerous chemicals in the air.

The story said "as many as 60 dead pigeons, sparrows and grackles were found overnight along Congress Avenue, a main route through downtown." No human injuries or illnesses were reported.

Interestingly, all three birds are typical of those types of urban birds that perch in large flocks on rooftops, gutters and sidewalks around buildings and make enormous messes that building owners have to clean up.

Grackles are crow-size birds, black with iridescent heads, backs and bellies that normally inhabit urban areas in the Midwest and Eastern parts of the United States. We’re all familiar with pigeons and sparrows. All three of the bird species eat just about anything they find on city streets, especially seeds.

And seeds are what angry building owners sometimes use to poison these birds so they don’t poop on their buildings. It has happened in other cities in the past. I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s what they discover after just about every medical testing facility in Austin, and quite a few that aren’t, finishes testing the bodies of the dead birds.

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24 Responses to “Were dead birds in Austin, Texas, poisoned?”

  1. I got no name Says:

    Are you nuts? People who live in Austin are used to grackles and pigeons and the messes they make (I dare say swallows make tiny amounts of poop and are not a problem). You really should immerse yourself in the quality of life and mode of thought of a city before making asinine comments about the motivations of it’s people. I mean, I wouldn’t say all public schools in California are bad just because you, sir, are a moron.

  2. Susan Says:

    It doesn’t have to be a lot of people. Just one with a lot of poison. And if you don’t think people would hurt and kill birds because they dare to poop on their building, than you sir are a moron. Texas has a great reputation for cruelty to animals. Don’t believe me? Watch Animal Planet’s Houston version of Animal Precinct. Many people will kill an inconvenient animal and not care about the dogs and cats that are poisoned from eating them. All I can say is that if it was someone poisoning them (and you “I got no name” did not offer any kind of intelligent alternative telling me loads about the education in TX) I hope they get what they deserve.

  3. Anonymous Says:

    It’s actually a good question to ask. According to our fedex driver, Highland Mall (an overpopulation of birds exist there also) had birds poisoned there yesterday, but it didnt make the news. Something fishy is going on around here, and it needs to be brought to light!

  4. no name neither Says:

    Who would poison birds so that they wouldn’t poop on your building? There is an endless supply of birds out there! This is not a rational solution. I can’t believe that this is the answer. Plus, Austin would never risk killing the bats.

  5. Anonymous Says:

    wait…Highland Mall poisoned birds? Or, you mean-a bunch of dead birds were also found at Highland Mall(?)

  6. bye-bye birdie Says:

    If the city of Austin refuses public outcry (like it has done so many times in the past), if it refuses to take care of the problems of its business owners downtown — then we shouldn’t be surprised when those same citizens take matters into their own hands. We “euthanise” dogs and cats that over populate the city… birds happen to be next in the… pecking order (sorry).

    And really! If there are dogs and cats downtown, then they are stray and need to be put down. I hope they do eat those birds and die… what kind of a rationalization is that? The poor stray doggies and kitties … for heaven’s sake. Either poison or SUV’s…!

    And the endless supply of birds? No kidding. We’re not talking aveo-genicide here — we’re talking about thinning out the deuce-makers a little so our streets aren’t paved in poo.

    And if you’re really bothered by the thought of dead birds, don’t worry… not only will you have forgotten about it by next year, but these feathered disease carriers will be right back here by autumn eating your discarded french fries, fruit chews, and bubble gum.

  7. that was funny Says:

    I thought that last comment was funny. Oh no someone is killing birds, I just ate a turkey casidilla with my dog. I libe here in Austin and all I could think of was how everytime I heard someone talking about it the number grew. I thought something was wrong when my girlfriend kept calling over and over. She said did you hear about the birds dying downtown. She could not even go to work. It was so close to the capital I was afraid it might be some crazy attack. Then the city said oh nothings wrong. I guess they just all just happen to kill over at the same time. I can not wait for the local radio host Bobby Bones to get a hold of this. He will lock himself in the closet and never come out. HAhhaha

  8. bevy Says:

    my concern is that there may be some toxin in the air that will also harm humans. one less pigeon or 12k as the case may be is not going to change my life. however, toxins in our very polluted air, will. pigeons, grackle, etc that roost on public buildings carry disease. it is not simply an inconvenience. they also take a crap on you in your business suit or jeans…but also not the point.

    what if humans drop dead next? someone needs to figure it out and let us know wtf is going on.

  9. Vicious Vixen Mission Stardust Says:

    Good lord. The disgusting amount of comments here. “I was eating a “turkey casidilla with my dog” and “what if humans drop dead next? someone needs to figure it out and let us know wtf is going on.” All this concern for, once again, HUMANITYS arrogance and selfishness. 87 degrees in Southern California. Cherry trees are blooming in Washington. Unusual weather patterns across the globe and species are dying left and right, but OH NO, once again it comes down how it incoveniences MANKIND. Truth be told, when the real judgetment day arrives, it won’t be the Messiah or Mohammad. It will be the toxins and destruction we’ve wrecked upon the earth while we casually dismiss the death of “lesser” creatures and we continue to eat our processed junk food casidillas.

  10. Tez Says:

    Could it be Influenza A H5N1?

  11. 5th of November Says:

    Corporations are permitted to allow whatever toxins they want to be dispensed in the air. As long as they make a profit (and donate to the right political parties). After all, corporations and gov’t are merely quid-pro-quo whorehouses sold to the highest bidder. When the gov’t needs illegal wire-taps, Verizon and Sprint allow them secret rooms to listen in on calls. When Haliburton (and KBR) need more revenue, the gov’t hands out no-bid contracts. When the gov’t dislikes literature, Amazon and Wikipedia ban the book “America Deceived”. We The People had our gov’t (and health) sold out from beneath us.
    Final link (before Google Books caves to pressure and drops the title):

  12. Nibs Niven Says:

    “When the gov’t dislikes literature, Amazon and Wikipedia ban the book “America Deceived”.”

    Oh, you mean this book?


  13. Anonymous Says:

    The answer to this mystery: H5N1.

  14. Scott Searl Says:

    25 years ago there was a controversy in Houston, at Rice University, where the hyper-intellegentsia at that location deliberately and openly poisoned MILLIONS of “grackles”, actually blackbirds, with complete impunity, because the birds were migrating and pooping on cars in copious quantities. It is no surprise these moronic efforts to abate natural processes endure today in good ol’ Texas, where nature is continually assaulted by those who regard it as a nuisance. A damned shame…

  15. The Duke Says:

    There are a lot of sick people making comments here. I may be one of them with my revelation. Personally, I would rather see tons of human beings drop dead than any kind of other animal ( yes, humans are animals too, religious fanantics ). We care about nothing other than ourselves, period. Very few of us actually care about species other than ourselves. It’s the people that don’t care about anything or anyone but themselves that are the people I could care less about and I’d rather see you folks croak than a bird or a deer or what have you. How’s that for ya? Make ya feel good? Afterall, feeling good and feeling superior to others are the hallmarks of humans. I’ll stay here up in the mountains with my other animal buddies while you city dwellers start croaking from all the carnage YOU created. You get what you deserve, after all – it’s called karma. And don’t get me wrong here, I do not WISH death on anyone, I’m only saying I’d rather see humans die than other animals if it’s going to happen.

  16. fairy Says:

    um it was 63 birds. sheesh

  17. Steven Rahn Says:

    Human greed and denial will cost us our lives and the planet. Sadly, all of us, even those that support responsible behavior, will be
    sucked into the quagmire. The irresponsible, blind, selfish and greedy have the force of numbers….and many like themselves amongst the powerful.

  18. Anonymous Says:

    Actually it’s not uncommon for property owners to hire professional exterminators for birds as readily as they will for rodents or insect infestations. I wouldn’t be surprised to find that this was either the result of hired exterminators or someone taking it into their own hands to just toss poison seed around.

    …personally I can’t say I care much one way or another.

  19. sam jones Says:

    Dear Susan from the great state of California. I am a native Austinite, An IDA member, a PETA member, love animals, and also hope the perps, if any, get a felony conviction. Nuff said?

  20. colin Says:

    On the 10 of january the ‘Australian’ reported scores of birds dying and convulsing in the town of Esperance, southeast of Perth, Australia.

    Certainly unusual, and not recorded before.

    Could the two incidents be linked ?

  21. daryl Says:

    You will remember the dead birds when your city is polluted with the fried food and other waste these birds eat in the fast food parking lots. All the garbage they consume is all the shit that falls on the buildings. Your choice on the parking lots or you buildings.

  22. Barbara Baass Says:

    There are two birds at the corner of Amherst & Scribe. One is dead at the curb 7 the other there is something wrong. Who do you call???

  23. Penelope Says:

    Where do you report these things? Birds are being poisoned at the garden center I work in and its terrible and hopefully illegal…? I can’t really find an office to contact though… wildlife commission or something, no?

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