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Large bird kill in Lyons Brook likely caused by vehicle

A large number of birds were seen lying on the ground dead in Lyons Brook Tuesday.
A large number of birds were seen lying on the ground dead in Lyons Brook Tuesday. - Sueann Musick

LYONS BROOK

A flock of starlings flying through Lyons Brook met with a violent death Tuesday.

Motorists driving through the village Tuesday would have noticed at least 20 or more starlings scattered over the road near the turnoff to Hardwood Hill.

Shavonne Meyer, a biologist with the Department of Natural Resources, said Wednesday that based on photos and observations by DNR technicians, it is most likely the birds died after striking a vehicle.

She said a transportation truck drove through the area at 8 a.m. Tuesday and the road was clear, but when the driver returned a short time later, the birds were on the ground. This allowed DNR to pinpoint a time when the strike took place.

“The birds are showing blunt force trauma so the most likely explanation is a flock of birds hit at once,” she said. “It was probably a larger vehicle.”

Meyer said starlings fly in flocks and spend the winters in this area. They are know to change direction very quickly and are guided by one another so they don’t look around a lot.

“There is a motorist out there that knows exactly when and where it happened. It happened so quickly not much could be done to avoid it,” she said.

Bird strikes with vehicles are not uncommon, but they aren’t seen often either, she said. In fact, the highest human-caused mortality rate for birds is a result of vehicle strikes.

Another explanation would be electrocution by the power lines, but she said small birds can sit on wires without any trouble and if they were electrocuted they would show an entry and exit wound.

The birds exhibited no signs of such wounds, but instead showed signs of being struck by something.

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