Mystery of dead birds on Cape roads

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pigeon

CAPE ARGUS

Motorists travelling past the Cape Town International Convention Centre on the Western Boulevard were greeted by a grisly sight: scores of dead pigeons littering the roadside of the elevated freeway. Photo: Henk Kruger

Motorists travelling past the Cape Town International Convention Centre on the Western Boulevard yesterday were greeted by a grisly sight: scores of dead pigeons littering the roadside of the elevated freeway.

It’s not clear what might have caused the deaths – some of the birds were crushed, as though they had been hit by cars, while others had no marks on them.

Asked whether the weekend’s air show at the Ysterplaat air force base might have been the cause, a professional ornithologist said this was unlikely because urban pigeons were very resilient birds that were used to “bangs and crashes and rumbles and roars”.

Large numbers of pigeons also feed regularly on grain spilled during loading and offloading operations at the adjacent Cape Town harbour and attention is now being focused here as part of the probe. The SPCA is investigating.

SPCA chief inspector Andries Venter said they had not found any newly dead birds, but would definitely investigate whether there had been any poisoning related to bird control efforts at the docks. - Cape Argus

john.yeld@inl.co.za


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Mehl Carelse, wrote

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09:56pm on 27 September 2010
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Firstly, Feral pigeons are in fact very resilient birds as they will eat anything off pavements and out of dirt bins. They are normally ridden with diseases and parasites to the extent that in the UK they are actually called flying rats.I know that there is a feral pigeon problem at the dockyards, especially when grain is off-loaded and after consuming the grain they need huge amouts of fresh water to set the digestion process in motion. It is therefore highly likely that their fresh water reservoirs were poisoned which could have led to the mass deaths witnessed and if this trend continues then it has to be fresh water poisoning in the city bowl area. Feral pigeons(Columba Livia) are extremely adaptable and a hardened bird species and these deaths had to be due to unnatural circumstances. Let's rule out sonic booms etc. I bet my bottom dollar that this was fresh water poisoning. A word of caution; please do not pick up any dead feral pigeons with your bare hands in that even in their "healthy" state these birds are normally disease ridden and their blood can be extremely toxic to humans. Pick them up with a clamp and put them in a refuse back to be incinerated at a municipal facility.

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Anonymous, wrote

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08:55pm on 27 September 2010
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Nope it is someone poisoning them in Jetty Street, they have baited their roosting site with rodent poison. Cannot say who I am but will say it's a brown building.

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Anonymous, wrote

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08:54pm on 27 September 2010
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Nope it is someone poisoning them in Jetty Street, they have baited their roosting site with rodent poison. Cannot say who I am but will say it's a brown building.

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Anonymous, wrote

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03:56pm on 27 September 2010
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fyi, same thing seen in KZN over the weekend.

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Anonymous, wrote

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01:12pm on 27 September 2010
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I see dead birds daily but yesterday by far was the worst!

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Anonymous, wrote

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01:10pm on 27 September 2010
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it's obviously Denel weapons testing...

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