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USDA admits role in large bird kill

January 22, 2011


By Brett Michael Dykes


When birds began mysteriously falling from the sky a couple of weeks ago, some conspiratorial minds were convinced that the government was involved. One line of speculation held that the Pentagon was conducting a secret weapons experiment that killed the birds. Another theorized that the feds were covering up the air-befouling practices of a major player in agribusiness or the energy industry.

Now we know that the government did have a hand in at least one of the kills, though this revelation doesn’t seem to involve sinister intrigue.

Yes, the Agriculture Department said Thursday, it did have a hand in the recent mass killing of starlings in South Dakota. According to the USDA, the birds were poisoned in Nebraska to help farmers who had complained about starling flocks defecating into livestock feed troughs. The birds dropped dead en masse after migrating north.

According to the Christian Science Monitor:

“The USDA’s Wildlife Services Program, which contracts with farmers for bird control, said it used an avicide poison called DRC-1339 to cull a roost of 5,000 birds that were defecating on a farmer’s cattle feed across the state line in Nebraska. But officials said the agency had nothing to do with large and dense recent bird kills in Arkansas and Louisiana.

“Nevertheless, the USDA’s role in the South Dakota bird deaths puts a focus on a little-known government bird-control program that began in the 1960s under the name of Bye Bye Blackbird, which eventually became part of the USDA and was housed in the late ’60s at a NASA facility. In 2009, USDA agents euthanized more than 4 million red-winged blackbirds, starlings, cowbirds, and grackles, primarily using pesticides that the government says are not harmful to pets or humans.”

Surely this news will calm all the “aflockalypse” hysteria out there, right? Oh, who are we kidding: Any sign of federal involvement will be seized on as another layer in the elaborate cover-up.

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