DACONO, Colo. (CBS4)– The curious mystery of why dozens of black birds turned up dead yesterday on the lot of a front range Ford dealer has been solved.
“We did an application of pesticides to control starlings in that area,” explained Michael Yeary, State Director of Wildlife Services for APHIS, the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Yeary said his crew responded to a complaint from a dairy some 4 to 5 miles from the car dealership.
Apparently a flock of starlings, estimated at 3,000 birds, was consuming feed at the dairy and contaminating the area with droppings.
“This is rather common actually,” said Colorado Division of Wildlife spokeswoman Jennifer Churchill.
She said starlings can be such a nuisance they’re legally hunted year round in the state with no limit.
“Some people consider them an invasive species and they can cause a lot of property damage especially during the winter,” said Churchill.
European Starlings are non-native.
They arrived in the United States more than a century ago and quickly expanded their range coast to coast.
Yeary said his department is authorized to help agricultural producers like dairies and feedlots who run into problems with starlings.
Wednesday’s discovery of the dead black birds at Interstate Ford in Dacono touched off a lot of speculation.
Was it severe weather or a deadly disease?
It turns out the cause of death wasn’t natural at all.
Instead, the starlings were killed by a government agency.
Yeary said no predators or pets were ever threatened by the control measures..
He explained efforts were taken to make sure only starlings , and no other birds, were killed with the EPA approved pesticide.
The woman who photographed the carcasses and alerted the news media is okay with his explanation.
“I think if we’re overpopulated we have to do what we have to do,” said Stacia Shane, an employee at of the Ford dealer.
She just wishes there was some advance that warning dozens of dead starlings would be littering her work place.