Flock of 100 birds found dead after taking poison bait to control ‘mice plague’
Alarming images of poisoned birds show the devastating effects of Australia’s ongoing “mice plague,” the control of which is now proving to be a threat to the country’s native species as well.
According to News.com.au, Kelly Lacey, who works as a bird coordinator for the New South Wales Wildlife Information, Rescue and Education Service (WIRES), has been attending to populations of birds she suspected were poisoned by eating mouse bait.
On Monday, she reportedly went to check on a flock of about 100 galahs in a cemetery in Parkes, New South Wales – but what she discovered was a grisly sight, with all but two of the birds found dead.
Lacey shared photos of the birds on Facebook, writing that it was a “[scene]…that finally broke them.” She wrote that “this beautiful flock of Galahs…. lived in and around the cemetery,” and noted that she had rescued and cared for injured flock members in the past. “Seeing them sit with each other under trees and knowing they were suffering until they finally died completely broke me.”
In her post, Lacey added that of the two live galahs she rescued from the flock, one died on the car ride home. She also clarified that while she supports reducing the huge mouse population, she does not condone the use of “poisoned grain” that could harm other species.
Lacey explained her thoughts in a statement to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC News), “Seeing the dead bodies and picking them up was just heartbreaking.” She also said she saw blood in the birds’ droppings, which led her to suspect the poison caused internal bleeding.
Meanwhile, the NSW Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has confirmed that numerous recent cases of bird deaths can be traced to toxic mouse bait, reports News.com.au. In response, Carmen Dwyer, executive director of regulatory operations for the EPA, warned people to be extra cautious when using these types of poisons.
“Safe baiting of mice is an important step in reducing mice numbers,” Dwyer said, “and pesticide users need to make sure they handle baits safely and always follow label directions to protect their families. This is a brief summary.