The mystery of the 300 dead birds that fell out of the sky and died seemingly for no apparent reason has been solved.
Toxicology tests on the starlings have finally been completed, more than two months after the flock of birds were found dead on a road near Bodedern, North Wales, last December.
Immediately after the birds were discovered, speculation was rife as to what could have led the birds to their demise. Now though, we no longer have to speculate as the Department for Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) has shared the findings of the postmortem examinations.
You can watch the discovery of the birds below:
The dead birds were discovered by Hannah Stevens, who had seen the flock flying around earlier that day. Stevens said she had initially seen them flying overhead before landing and appearing to eat something in the road.
Just an hour later, she returned to the road to find the large flock of starlings dead, leaving her confused as to what could have happened to the birds. ‘It’s very strange, I can’t put my finger on it. There are still some alive in the hedges today but it’s all unexplained at the moment,’ she said at the time.
As well as confusing Stevens, the bizarre event puzzled environmental investigators and the police’s rural wildlife team – although now DEFRA has ruled out several of the rumoured possibilities.
A spokesperson for the department said virology, bacteriology and histopathology tests had all been carried out, ruling out bird flu as there was ‘no evidence of infectious diseases’.
The cause of death was then narrowed down further, with the spokesperson saying, as per North Wales Live:
The laboratory’s view is that blunt force trauma is the main cause.
The rural crime team had previously said this was the most likely explanation, saying the birds had probably taken evasive action – likely to avoid a predator – leading some of them to slam into the ground as their murmuration changed course.
A starling murmuration can often comprise thousands of birds, with the birds spending most of their time in these flocks.
Starlings are very adaptable birds, although their numbers have declined markedly across much of northern Europe and the UK.
The decline in the UK started during the early 1980s and has continued ever since.
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