Officials in Spain have launched an investigation into the mysterious deaths of 200 birds in the north-western city of Ferrol. According to local media, the dead starlings were falling like rain in front of a local hospital.
Falling Like Rain
The odd incident took place in the morning of November 26, when starlings began falling on cars and pedestrians.
It is yet to be determined what could have caused the mass deaths of the starlings. President of the local resident association, Mapi Rodríguez, told local media:
They came out of the trees in the emergency area of the hospital, flew a few metres and plummeted to the pavement.The birds have been collected and we are now waiting to find out what happened. We are told it won't be easy.
Two of the dead birds have been picked up by the regional environment agency for analysis. The Ferrol City Council has also joined in on the investigation.
Although this is a rare incident, local media reported that a similar thing happened earlier this year in nearby Tarragona. Hundreds of birds fell from the sky due to toxic chemicals which had been released by a petrochemical plant in the area.
Starlings typically fly in large synchronized groups, so although this theory has not been proven, this could explain why the birds died at the same time.
A similar incident that took place in Rome, Italy earlier in the year, was believed to have been caused by New Year Eve’s fireworks. The birds were found lying on the ground near a busy Termini train station.
It led to the Italian branch of the International Organization for the Protection of Animals (OIPA) calling for a ban on selling firecrackers and fireworks for personal use, arguing they pose a threat to animals. OIPA spokeswoman Loredana Diglio, said:
It can be that they died from fear. They can fly up together and knock against each other, or hit windows or electric power lines. Let's not forget they can also die of heart attacks.