On Friday, dozens of birds fell out of the sky and died on a street in the Great Kills section of Staten Island. Residents grew concerned as, the Staten Island Advance reported, birds "flopped and twitched...as they breathed their last" (video here). One resident said the birds were flying "as if they were drunk" before falling to the ground.
Residents were advised to stay in their homes as the fire department, police and as well as other city agencies were on the scene, trying to determine why the birds were dying. Some residents returning home weren't even allowed out of their cars for a while. The dead birds, either blackbirds or purple martins, were all around Wiman Avenue and Tennyson Drive.
However scary seeing piles of dead birds on one's lawn may have been, the Health Department said, "There is nothing to suggest that there is a risk to the people living in the community." The Health Department thinks the mass bird fatalities might be due to pesticide poisoning, which isn't all that reassuring either, but whatever! Representatie Vito Fossella said residents shouldn't worry but "The sooner we can get answers, the better to calm any fears."
Dead bird sightings some times suggest the presence of the West Nile virus (the city asks residents to report all dead bird sightings) and there is talk about stopping pigeon procreation. And the dead birds are still being sent to a lab for autopsies (results may not be ready for weeks).
Still from video by Patrick George for the Staten Island Advance