Dozens of birds have fallen out of trees in a Boston neighborhood, leaving health officials baffled.
Health officials who arrived told the Boston Globe they were shocked to find 47 grackles—smaller relatives of blackbirds—on the ground or falling from the trees. A cat had also fallen sick, Dot Joyce, a spokeswoman for the Animal Rescue League of Boston, told the paper.
“We started getting complaints about birds literally falling out of the sky,” John Meaney, of Boston Inspectional Services, told WCVB-TV.
At least 40 birds in total died, he added. The sick cat was also euthanized.
“At this point, there’s no indication that this is posing a threat to humans, but we are continuing to monitor,” Julia Gunn of the Boston Public Health Commission said.
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Lt. Alan Borgal with the Animal Rescue League said “birds were literally falling out of the trees and the fences and stuff,” according to the Boston Herald.
City officials told NECN-TV that they’re investigating whether it was a virus, environmental poisoning, or if the birds were intentionally killed.
“The cat is an indoor-outdoor cat, so if it picked up a bird …,” Borgal said. “All we know is this is some sort of environmental event. We don’t know if it’s disease-driven. We don’t know if somebody put out too much poison.”
Joyce said tests will be done on the dead birds. The Animal Rescue League, the Inspectional Services, Environmental Services, and the Department of Public Health have launched an investigation, according to the Boston Globe.
Willien Pugh, a local, told the Herald she’ll miss her cat. “We took the cat from outside and we thought it was a girl so we named it Sally—then when we took it to the vet, we found out it was a boy, so we started calling her Sally B,” she said.