Bizarre bird deaths under investigation in Winnipeg’s north end

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Officials with the Humane Society in Winnipeg are investigating the bizarre death of dozens of birds that occurred in the city's north end on Wednesday.

Witnesses reported seeing hundreds of grackles flocking in a confused manner during the morning.

Susan Tiganagis, who works in the area, told CBC News: "My husband said, like, 'This is a Hitchcock movie.' It's crazy!"

"They were just dizzy," she added. "They didn't know where they were going. I've never seen them act like that."

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This unusual sight turned more tragic towards midday, though, when roughly 60 birds fell to the ground, dead or dying.

"They were literally falling out of the trees and they were still dying," Tiganagis said in the CBC interview. "You couldn't step anywhere without stepping on a bird."

According to the Winnipeg Free Press, roughly 50 dead birds were collected for disposal, while 10 birds that were still alive, and one dead bird, were taken to the Humane Society, where veterinarians examined them.

"The birds did appear to be otherwise healthy, so it was something that made them acutely ill and then die," said Dr. Erika Anseeuw, the Humane Society's director of animal health, according to WFP. "They didn't appear to be suffering, they were just unable to fly."

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It will apparently take a few days for tests to reveal what caused the strange behaviour and deaths of these birds. There was some speculation that it may have been from poison set out to kill pigeons, but Dr. Anseeuw told the Winnipeg Free Press that examination of the dead bird brought to her showed that it hasn't eaten anything unusual.

(Photo courtesy: Wikimedia Commons)

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