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Mystery of dead birds on Cape roads

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.

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. Credit: CAPE ARGUS

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

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