It has happened again -- hundreds of birds found dead in a park in South Dakota. But unlike the other bird deaths, this one has an explanation -- the U.S. government did it.
Some 200 starlings were found dead in the town of Yankton last week. Initially, officials assumed they were late to migrate and froze to death. But the Department of Agriculture called and said it purposely poisoned the birds.
According to a report on South Dakota TV station KTIV, it seems some 5,000 birds were defecating in the feed meal of a farm across the border in Nebraska. That was posing a health hazard to animals and farm workers, so the USDA decided the best solution was to kill the birds.
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Animal workers set bait laced with poison. It apparently did the trick, but they were surprised the birds were able to fly so far before dying. The USDA estimates 2,000 birds ate the poison. It's not clear where the 1,800 other dead birds are, but officials say they do not pose a threat to animals or humans.
So now this mystery is solved. But still, the recent bird and fish deaths in several other states remain a quandary. Experts say such mass deaths are not uncommon, however, and are only now receiving publicity.