Feds ’fess up to poisoning birds

Too much poop

Massive bird die-offs have left people around the nation puzzled, but a recent incident in South Dakota isn’t so mysterious, after all.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture admitted it intentionally poisoned more than 2,000 starling birds in Yankton, S.D., in mid-January at a farmers’ request. An estimated 5,000 starling birds had been pooping in his feedlot, posing a health threat to animals and farm workers.

In response, the USDA fed the birds bait laced with DRC-1339, a poison that damages the kidneys. Yankton residents found the birds frozen on the ground and in trees about 10 miles from where they had ingested the poison.

In other bird news, the Arkansas Fish and Game Commission has declared an official cause of death for the 5,000 red-winged blackbirds found on New Year’s Eve in Beebe, Ark. As some scientists predicted, the birds died from blunt-force trauma likely caused by being startled from their roosts.