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Sunday, February 27, 2011

Vancouver Island bald eagles are "falling from the sky"...

Vancouver Island Bald Eagles Are "Falling From the Sky"
By Curtis Cartier, Thu., Feb. 24 2011 @ 8:00AM

It was one thing when starlings, robins, and turtledoves were falling dead from the sky in places like Kentucky, Italy, and Arkansas. Those places are far from the Pacific Northwest, and the birds are just common species that no one cares about anyway. Well, now bizarre bird deaths have finally made their way to the PNW, and it's eagles that are falling from the sky. That's right, bald freaking eagles.

The Vancouver Sun reports that Maj Birch, manager of the Mountainaire Avian Rescue Society in Comox Valley on Vancouver Island, is currently caring for seven injured eagles that were starving and fell out of the sky. Several others didn't make it.

"This is the most we have ever had," Birch said. "Many of them are downed before they are brought in. They are on the ground and they're too weak to fly away.

"Some of them are actually falling out of the sky. One of them slid off a roof yesterday.

The birds are apparently not only starving, they're parasite-ridden as well. Most of them have to be fed through a tube when they arrive.

The reason behind the eagle deaths is, at least, less mysterious than the flocks of smaller birds that have dropped from the sky in droves elsewhere.

Birch blames a poor chum salmon run in the Comox Valley and on the mainland for leaving the birds with little to eat. Many birds are apparently subsisting by feeding at nearby landfills, where they are often poisoned from the garbage.

Birch isn't the only eagle researcher who's seeing dead birds dropping from the heavens or at least seeing their numbers dropping like a stone. David Hancock of the Hancock Wildlife Foundation tells The Daily Mail that he saw the bald eagle count along the Chehalis River drop from more than 7,000 birds to less than 400 in a matter of days.

He says of the exodus:

"It was absolutely incredible. Within 10 days, we had gone from 7,200 eagles to 345 . . . So I knew it was going to be a pretty desperate winter."

Depressing is more like it.

I mean, we were bound to have some kind of bird species start falling from the sky at some point. Why'd it have to be eagles and not, say, pigeons? I don't care what Darwin says . . . rats with wings, if you ask me.
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