Springfield --"I can't think of any explanation for what happened." says Judy Carmicheal who lives just about a hundred feet from where a flock of starlings died. On Saturday she came out to see the birds dead in the road on Fremont and Erie Street away from power lines and trees.
"None were on the sidewalk. There weren't any in the grass. They were just all right there and I just about counted everyone." says Carmichael. She counted about 100 birds. Garrett Lane works along the intersection and when he showed up some of the birds were still alive.
"Most of the birds were standing right here just leaning up against the wall so when I walked up they wouldn't fly away so that was kind of odd to me. Why aren't the birds flying away--they just weren't able to fly." says Lane. There were no dead birds on his lawn. He doesn't know what happened to the birds that couldn't fly.
Biologist with the Missouri Department of Conservation said in the winter starlings are usually in a flock for protection but they don't know what happened. "When a bad event happens it impacts the whole flock and in this case the mystery is what was that event." says Francis Skalicky with the Missouri Department of Conservation.
The event couldn't have been weather related since on Saturday morning conditions were mild and calm with a lot of sunshine. Theories are a truck could have hit the birds that were in the road. Also, something could have messed with a protective layer of oil on the bird's feathers. "If something gets on the feathers, it can disperse that oil and it can cause them to get hypothermia and die." says Skalicky.
Other theories are the birds could have died from exhaustion while migrating. These ideas are just speculations. The experts we spoke to disagreed with each other on what could have caused the deaths.
"If they were sick, they wouldn't all just die right then and there." says Carmichael.
Similar starling die offs have occurred in Arkansas. Scientists think fireworks caused the deaths but no one knows for sure. There were no reports of any booms or firework explosions on Saturday.
The Missouri Department of Conservation collected a few of the birds and put them in a freezer. It hopes to find some one to test the birds. The Springfield-Greene County Health Department only tests birds with rabies and doesn't plan to test these birds.
/ CNN Newsource