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Sunday, 7 August 2011

Overeating and indigestion blamed for 1,000 turtle doves falling dead in Italy with strange blue stain on their beaks

By Nick Pisa

Last updated at 5:05 PM on 11th January 2011



  • Blue stain believed to be sign of poisoning or hypoxia - lack of oxygen that is precursor to altitude sickness
  • Cold weather and overbreeding blamed for deaths of two 2million fish in Chesapeake Bay
  • Disease behind deaths of 100,000 fish in Arkansas River
  • At least nine incidents of mass animal deaths across the globe
  • Hundreds of confused birds plummeted to their deaths in multiple locations in the U.S.
  • Rapid movement of Magnetic North Pole towards Russia may have caused bird deaths
Thousands of dead turtle doves that rained down on roofs and cars in an Italian town were victims of their on greed, an expert claimed today.
Residents in Faenza described the birds falling to the ground like 'little Christmas balls' with strange blue stains on their beaks.
Last night it emerged that 40 turtle doves had also been found dead at San Cesario near Modena, 60 miles from Faenza, and tests were also being carried out on their bodies.
Mystery solved: Rodolfo Ridolfi, from a zoological institute in Faenza, said indigestion was responsible for the recent deaths of 1,000 turtle doves
Mystery solved: Rodolfo Ridolfi, from a zoological institute in Faenza, said indigestion was responsible for the recent deaths of 1,000 turtle doves

Shock: Residents described seeing individual doves fall from the sky, before groups of 10 or 20 began hitting roofs and cars
Shock: Residents described seeing individual doves fall from the sky, before groups of 10 or 20 began hitting roofs and cars
The birds have been found by residents in the village for the last three days and they alerted authorities after hearing reports of the incident at Faenza.
Gianni Sereni, who found 12 birds in his garden, said: 'At first I didn't think anything of it but then I saw the reports on the news about what had happened elsewhere so I called the local veterinary service.'
Initial tests on up to 1,000 of the doves from Faezna indicated that the blue stain could have been caused by poisoning or hypoxia.
Hypoxia, a lack of oxygen, is known to cause confusion and illness in animals. It is also a common precursor to altitude sickness.
Gianni Sereni, who found 12 birds in his garden, said: 'At first I didn't think anything of it but then I saw the reports on the news about what had happened elsewhere so I called the local veterinary service.'

Official results on the Italian birds are due tomorrow, but Rodolfo Ridolfi, a director at the regional zoological institute, said:'We are fairly confident the birds died as a result of massive indigestion brought on by over-eating.
Mystery: Experts said they believed the blue colouration around the doves' beaks may indicate poisoning or lack of oxygen
Mystery: Experts said they believed the blue colouration around the doves' beaks may indicate poisoning or lack of oxygen
'The most likely cause are discarded sunflower seeds that were found on an industrial estate close to where the bodies of the turtle doves were found.
'In essence the birds were greedy, ate too many of the seeds - which we have found inside them during autopsies - and this brought on the indigestion that led to their death.'
Mr Ridolfi said that cold weather last week could have caused the turtle doves to die as the flock was swept into a high-altitude wind storm before falling to the earth.
It comes after two million dead fish were found to have washed up on shores in Chesapeake Bay, Maryland.
The alarming find is being blamed by authorities in Maryland on the stress caused by unusually cold water and overbreeding among spot fish.
Littering the beach: The bodies of two million spot fish have washed up on the shores of Chesapeake Bay, Maryland, after unusually cold weather
Littering the beach: The bodies of two million spot fish washed up on the shores of Chesapeake Bay, Maryland, after unusually cold weather earlier this week
Carnage: Thousands of dead fish have washed up on the shores of Spruce Creek, Florida
Carnage: Thousands of dead fish have washed up on the shores of Spruce Creek, Florida

That investigation comes just days after the deaths of an estimated 100,000 fish in northwest Arkansas, which is being blamed on disease.
A statement by the Maryland Department of the Environment said: 'Natural causes appear to be the reason.
'Cold water stress exacerbated by a large population of the affected species (juvenile spot fish) appears to be the cause of the kill.'
Preliminary tests of the water in Chesapeake Bay have showed the quality was acceptable, officials said.
The statement added: 'The affected fish are almost exclusively juvenile spot fish, three to six inches in length.
'A recent survey showed a very strong population of spot in the bay this year. An increased juvenile population and limited deep water habitat would likely compound the effects of cold water stress.'
Gruesome: New Year revellers watched in horror as the birds rained down on houses and cars in Beebe
Gruesome: New Year revellers watched in horror as the birds rained down on houses and cars in Beebe

Mystery: Officials initially blamed high-altitude hail or lightning hitting the birds. Then preliminary lab tests concluded they had died from ¿multiple blunt force trauma¿
Mystery: Officials initially blamed high-altitude hail or lightning hitting the birds. Then preliminary lab tests concluded they had died from multiple blunt force trauma

Mystery: A starling lies along the Morganza Highway in Pointe Coupee Parish, Louisiana. Experts said hundreds of birds may have died after hitting power lines
Mystery: A starling lies along the Morganza Highway in Pointe Coupee Parish, Louisiana. Experts said hundreds of birds may have died after hitting power lines
Mass winter deaths among spot fish have occurred twice before in the Maryland area - in 1976 and 1980.
The incident is the latest mass animal death to hit the headlines in the last two weeks.
These include:

  • 450 red-winged blackbirds, brown-headed cowbirds, grackles and starlings found littering a highway in Baton Rouge, Louisiana
  • 3,000 blackbirds on roofs and roads in the small town of Beebe, Arkansas
  • Thousands of 'devil crabs' washed up along the Kent coast near Thanet
  • Thousands of drum fish washed along a 20-mile stretch of the Arkansas River
  • Two million small fish in Chesapeake Bay, Maryland
  • Thousands of dead fish found floating in warm Florida creek
  • Hundreds of snapper fish found dead in New Zealand
  • Scores of American Coots found dead on Texas highway bridge
Experts have speculated that New Year fireworks, thunderstorms, cold weather, parasites and even poisoning may be behind the deaths.
But conspiracy theorists have also speculated on the internet that secret government experiments could be behind them, with some even claiming it was a sign of a looming Armageddon at the end of the Mayan calendar next year.
Another theory is that the rapid movement of the Magnetic North Pole towards Russia may have affected the birds' innate navigation systems.


Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1344913/Animal-death-mystery-8k-turtle-doves-fall-dead-Italy-blue-stain-beaks.html#ixzz1UP52AhZT
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