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Archive for the 'Dead birds' Category

Will San Quentin Prison’s sewage spill kill more S.F. Bay birds?

Last Thursday (Feb. 14) there was a 1,500-gallon spill of raw sewage from San Quentin Prison into San Francisco Bay.

Sound familiar?

Over 5 million gallons of raw, partially treated sewage were accidentally released into the Bay by the Sewerage Agency of Southern Marin on Jan. 25 and Jan. 31. Dead birds were spotted in the water on Jan. 26, the day after the first spill. There was reportedly another spike in the number of dead birds found on Feb. 1, the day after the second spill.

Although there is some debate about how these birds were killed, it’s hard to believe the sewage spills weren’t related in some way.

50,000-plus gallons of toxic fuel oil from the ship that hit the Bay Bridge, 5 million-plus gallons of sewage from the Sewerage Agency of Southern Marin …  and now another 1,500 gallons of raw sewage from San Quentin have been dumped into San Francisco Bay since Nov. 7.

Does that mean more Western grebes, greater scaups, surf scoters, buffleheads and other aquatic bird species will be found dying in Bay waters near San Quentin?

We’ll have to wait and see.

And these are just the spills we know about. They really need to get a better handle on this stuff. /Gary

Posted on Monday, February 18th, 2008
Under: Dead birds, Oil Spills, Sewage spills | 2 Comments »

Past pigeon control efforts have caused panics similar to the one in Austin, Texas

Maybe Austin city officials should spend more time reading newspapers. The Associated Press reported in September, 2006, about poisoned pigeons in Texarkana, Texas, and also about a similar pigeon control effort in July, 2006, in Schenectady, N.Y., that "led to a hazardous materials incident" similar to the one in Austin on Monday.

From the Associated Press wire on Sept. 13, 2006:

TEXARKANA, Texas (AP) — Poisoned pigeons began nose-diving into pavement and dying on downtown sidewalks, marring the city’s annual festival.

Authorities cleaned up more than 25 sick or dead birds that apparently had eaten poisoned corn from the roof of a nearby bank branch.

… the bank hired an exterminator to handle its pigeon problem after a bird entered the bank and defecated on a customer. The company hired, Anti-Pest Co. Inc. of Shreveport, La., said its goal with the treated corn was to sicken pigeons so they would leave the rooftop. Death was sometimes an unfortunate side effect, company president Jarrod Horton said.

A similar pigeon control effort at a hospital in Schenectady, N.Y., led to a hazardous materials incident in July. Emergency workers spent hours searching the hospital grounds and putting dead birds in red hazardous-waste bags after an exterminator used a pesticide to get rid of pigeons on the roof. Fire Chief Robert Farstad had described the scene as birds "coming down like dive bombers."

Posted on Wednesday, January 10th, 2007
Under: Dead birds, Poison, wild birds | 1 Comment »

Were dead birds in Austin, Texas, poisoned?

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.

Posted on Monday, January 8th, 2007
Under: Dead birds | 24 Comments »