Michigan DNR investigating hundreds of crows dead near Battle Creek

Was it a train -- or something else?

SPRINGFIELD, MICH. (WZZM)- -

The DNR is investigating hundreds of dead birds that were found by some railroad tracks near Battle Creek.

It’s the second such discovery over the past few months.

They were discovered near Helmer and Lafayette roads in the city of Springfield.

Tim Hill took video of the birds on Sunday as he walked along the tracks. “There must be 200 of them, he said. Dead. Everywhere.”

An avid hunter, Hill says he suspected something was wrong and called the DNR.

 

Wildlife biologist Sara Thompson says the amount of dead crows is alarming. “Yes, absolutely, especially in this way. Crows hang out around railroad tracks, but the fact that these birds didn't get away is puzzling."

Thompson says when she looked at the location of the dead crows, she realized it was just a few hundred yards away from that of a similar incident in February. That’s when dozens of dead birds were found near the same railroad tracks. "So, we went picked them up and sent them to the lab. A necropsy was done and showed they died from trauma."

The autopsy showed that they likely died from being hit by the train. Thompson says this time there are more birds, and they want to know if something else is to blame.

"The real question is why they weren’t able to get away from the train. This time, we're going to turn their livers in for testing to determine if maybe there's some pesticide or chemical that made the birds compromised."

The results could take a few weeks to get back. In the meantime, the DNR asks residents to keep their eyes open for anything unusual.

"We just don't know. We have to put this whole story together and collecting the birds and doing a test to see what was in their system prior to their death is the first step."

The samples will be sent to the chemical testing lab at Michigan State University.

 

© 2017 WZZM-TV


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