LEWISTON - Residents unnerved by the unexplained deaths of dozens of crows in a neighborhood next to the Promenade Mall hope tests by the U.S. Department of Agriculture will provide some answers.

To residents, it seems almost as though dead crows were falling from the sky. Damien Perreault, 71, said he disposed of 10 dead crows he found on a walk Monday. That didn't count crows dead in the trees.

Ray Beaudoin, a resident of Summit Avenue, called animal control officials when the dead crows started appearing a couple of weeks ago.

State environmental control officials were not interested in testing them because the season for West Nile virus is over. But the U.S. Department of Agriculture accepted a couple of the birds last week and will run tests.

For now, residents have no answers but plenty of theories involving pollution, bird illnesses - or intentional poisoning. Dan Marquis of the Stanton Bird Club said the notion of intentional poisoning is worth looking into.

For now, Beaudoin said there's no noisy cawing.

Hundreds used to roost in a tree line that separates the parking lot of the Promenade Mall and Summit Avenue. "In the last three or four days, the crows are nowhere to be found," he said. "It's quite eerie," he said.