Birds Falling From Sky, Dying In Lakewood

Lakewood Allows Poisoning Of Pigeons

Roughly 20 birds have fallen to the ground and died in Lakewood.

Animal control came out Monday morning to gather the birds that were on the ground. Many of them had to be euthanized.

The birds were falling on both sides of Colfax Avenue near Nelson Street.

A person living in the area said it appears the birds just fell from the sky.

"They're falling out of the sky. They're suffering. They're laying, spreading their wings and dying," said resident Debra Tuero. "This is horrible. I've never seen anything like this before in my life."

Lakewood Animal Control identified the birds as starlings, however, the birds appear to be grackles. 7NEWS is awaiting information from animal control on what may have caused the birds to become suddenly ill.

"The first thought is poisoning, which is definitely possible. We are going to have the birds tested at the (state) Health Department to make sure that nothing else is going on," said Bonnie Martin, with Lakewood Animal Control.

The state health department will determine the birds' cause of death.

In Lakewood, it is illegal to intentionally poison any animal, however, there are exceptions for pest management. Pigeons, starlings, magpies, crows, and house sparrows are not protected by state law, said DOW spokeswoman Jennifer Churchill. She noted that Avitrol is the most commonly used poison for killing pigeons, but you need to have a license from the Department of Agriculture to use it.

"We'll also be checking with the businesses in the area and seeing if there is any poison or anything out that may be harmful to the birds," Martin said.

Lakewood Animal Control said it's possible that the birds ate a poisonous substance intended for other animals, and the grackles were not targeted.

To read the specific section of state law pertaining to the poisoning of birds:

    Title 33 Wildlife and Parks And Outdoor Recreation
      33.6.107.9 (9) For the purposes of this section, any person, any member of such person's family, or any employee of the person may hunt, trap, or take black-billed magpies, common crows, starlings, English or house sparrows, common pigeons, coyotes, bobcats, red foxes, raccoons, jackrabbits, badgers, marmots, prairie dogs, pocket gophers, Richardson's ground squirrels, rock squirrels, thirteen-lined ground squirrels, porcupines, crayfish, tiger salamanders, muskrats, beavers, exotic wildlife, and common snapping turtles on lands owned or leased by the person without securing licenses to do so, but only when such wildlife is causing damage to crops, real or personal property, or livestock. Any person may kill skunks or rattlesnakes when necessary to protect life or property. The pelts or hides of any mammals taken under this subsection (9) may be transferred, possessed, traded, bartered, or sold by a person who holds an appropriate small game license.