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It is estimated that more than 200 dead starlings were found in downtown Yankton Monday. However, it is not believed the deaths pose a threat to humans.
Yankton Animal Control Officer Lisa Brasel estimated that she collected 200 starlings Monday, and employees of the city Parks and Recreation Department were also on the scene picking up deceased birds. The total number of corpses gathered up by city employees has not yet been compiled.
“I talked to one of the local vets, and they said there is nothing wrong (with the birds),” said Brasel, who took specimens to a veterinary office. “They just didn’t migrate and are dying. I was going to call the South Dakota Department of Health to see what they have to say about it, but they are closed today (because of Martin Luther King Day).”
Several dozen birds were found dead on the ground in the area of Morning Glory Drive and Golden Rod Drive Monday afternoon. Scottsboro police, who were summoned to the area, secured the scene, called Manning and assisted with the collection of the birds.
The birds were found along a row of leyland cypress trees that provide a break between homes on Golden Road and Morning Glory. Hundreds of blackbirds have reportedly been frequenting the area and roosting in the trees for several weeks during the evening and early morning hours.
"I don't know what to make of it," Tom Vosen, a resident in the area, said. "I picked up one (Sunday afternoon) that fell out of the sky on my asphalt."
Hundreds of dead or agonizing crows have brought terror to a town in the Eastern part of Romania. Since Saturday, the locals of Roman, a town of 80.000 people, have noticed that hundreds of crows fell to the ground dead or in agony in one of the local parks. On Monday, dozens of birds were struggling with death, unable to fly. Local experts suspect that the crows may have been poisoned, but no verdict can be given before a forensic study is conducted.
Brasel says she didn't suspect illness because all the starlings were at a good weight and appeared to be, for the most part, healthy. She planned to send some of the bodies to South Dakota State University for testing, until she got a phone call from officials with the United States Department of Agriculture that solved the mystery
"They said they had poisoned the birds about 10 miles south of Yankton, and they were surprised they came to Yankton like they did," said Brasel.
He said it was the USDA, which poisoned them at a feedlot in Nebraska.
Woods said the officials poisoned the birds because the property owners were having problems with a large number of starlings at the lot.
In an interview with the Press & Dakotan, wildlife biologist Ricky Woods confirmed that he was involved with dispersing DRC-1339 at a cattle feedlot in Nebraska about 10 miles south of Yankton.
"It is a service the USDA will provide to livestock owners if requested and the situation warrants it, Woods explained."