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Mass deaths of migratory blackbirds reported in Sevastopol

February 22, 2011

www.itar-tass.com

SEVASTOPOL, February 19 (Itar-Tass) — Mass and still unexplained deaths of migratory blackbirds have been reported in Sevastopol.

Dozens of dead birds lie on the Kamyshovskoye highway, in the Kazachya bay and other coastal areas.

As an ornithologist, an expert on biodiversity with the Ukrainian Society for the Protection of Birds, Alexander Grinchenko, explained to anxious residents, for the present it is early to state that the blackbirds died from infection or were poisoned by food. These are migratory birds, and they had flown, most likely, from North Africa, where no epidemics are reported.

Specialists of the Sevastopol state veterinary centre are investigating the case. The first examination showed that the deaths were caused, most probably, by frost. A cyclone brought heavy snow and frosty weather to the Crimea, including the southern coast, which were not expected by the birds after their hard travel across the sea. Sevastopol is their first place to rest. Samples of tissues of dead birds have been sent to Simferopol for expert examination. The diagnosis will be established within a week, a veterinary clinic source said. And for the present, specialists recommend to burn the dead blackbirds.

The Crimean main veterinary medicine department is conducting an investigation into the case.

According to experts, “there are no reasons for particular worries, as there is no connection between this incident and the recent incidents of mass deaths of birds in the U.S., Sweden, Canada, Italy and Romania.” In Ukraine, mass death of blackbirds is reported for the first time.

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