Dead birds found on Sevier County highway

Dead birds found on Sevier County highway

One of the dead birds. (Source: The Mountain Press) One of the dead birds. (Source: The Mountain Press)
Multiple dead birds on the roadway. (Source: The Mountain Press) Multiple dead birds on the roadway. (Source: The Mountain Press)

6 News Reporter

SEYMOUR (AP/WATE) - Residents in Seymour were startled after finding dozens of small birds dead over the weekend.

The birds were reported to the sheriff's department on Sunday afternoon along Boyd Creek Highway, just outside Seymour.

A Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency officer was sent out to investigate and said about 60 European starlings were found dead.

Several theories have been discussed about how the birds died.

"It's highly unlikely these birds are carrying a disease," said TWRA wildlife officer Matt Cameron. "It's an isolated case, and we haven't had any other reports of birds in that area being dead or sick. (The officer) feels something traumatic caused this rare population of birds to die."

The wildlife officer took five or six of the birds from the scene for testing.

One theory was that the birds may have been shocked by a power surge as they were found below several lines, where they are known to roost. TWRA officials say they checked with the power company, and no surges were reported Sunday.

Wildlife officials said it is not uncommon for this type of bird to hit buildings or towers and die in mass.

Harold Truitt, who lives across the street from where the birds died, says he knows exactly what killed them.

"I was sitting in my den and I happened to look out my window, and saw all those birds swirling around," said Truitt. "A little white car plowed right through them and it didn't stop."

Truitt says no one from TWRA came by his home to ask him what he saw.

"I would imagine in the coming days the officer will probably visit that neighbor and talk to them, and try to find out if the birds did in fact get ran over," said Cameron. "It is possible because they do fly in large numbers."

A highway department truck with a snow blade attachment scraped the birds onto the shoulder.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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