Mystery after poisoned birds drop dead from sky in front of children at school

WARNING - DISTRESSING CONTENT: There is an ongoing mystery as to what caused about 50 birds to fall from the sky in front of children at a school in Adelaide’s northeast.

Kids at vacation care at One Tree Hill Primary School witnessed a number of long-billed corellas “bleeding from the mouth” and collapsing on Wednesday afternoon.

Unfortunately, all of them have since died.

Caspers Bird Rescue Inc attended and took about 50 away to vets for care before their deaths.

The group is hoping a necropsy will determine exactly what killed the corellas.

A number of dead long-billed corellas laid out on a table. The birds were seen dropping from the sky by kids at One Tree Hill Primary School on Wednesday. It's believed they've been poisoned.
These dead long-billed corellas were seen falling from the sky in front of kids at One Tree Hill Primary School. Facebook/ Corella Carnage Must Be Stopped

The bird rescue’s founder Sarah King said the birds “are still dropping out of the sky” and a member of the group picked up four more on Thursday morning.

She’s at a loss as to who’s responsible, but said the birds had “definitely” been poisoned.

“We think it’s either pindone or 1080,” Ms King told Yahoo News Australia.

Pindone is a poison used to kill rabbits, while 1080 is used for foxes.

Ms King said it’s possible the corellas may have taken poison meant for another animal but also suspects foul play.

“It’s heartbreaking,” she said.

“Children were finding these birds. A lot of them have internal bleeding.”

A number dead long-billed corellas dead at One Tree Hill Primary School, Adelaide. They dropped dead in front of kids. It's believed they've been poisoned.
Caspers Bird Rescue Inc believe the birds were poisoned by 1080 or pindone. A number are pictured here dead at the school. Source: Facebook/ Corella Carnage Must Be Stopped

According to the City of Playford Council website, where One Tree Hill is located, corellas can be destructive.

The council has a management plan for the birds due to ongoing issues with the population size.

It cited damage caused by corellas including taking apart street-light fittings, excessive noise at times making it “impossible” for residents to sleep, destruction of crops and private property.

A council spokesperson told Yahoo News Australia the City of Playford “has invested significant resources” into “non-lethal strategies” to deal with the birds.

“These non-lethal measures, last undertaken in 2018, included use of a predatory hawk and gas guns,” the spokesperson said.

“In order to protect our assets, Council has identified some areas where Little Corellas congregate and has implemented electric bird-deterrent systems, curved diffusers on street lights, and steel conduits on oval light towers in order to minimise the costs of repair.

“At no time has Council implemented any measures that include the use of poison.”

An RSPCA South Australia spokeswoman confirmed an investigation is underway.

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