December 1, 2023
Science Strange/Funny

Murder Of Crows: Dozens Of Birds Found Dead In Canada

Several people visiting the Central Valley Greenway near Still Creek (Canada) were confronted by a morbid sight — a large number of dead crows. Burnaby resident Paul Cipywnyk told the Beacon he was walking across the greenway when he saw a dead crow on the side of the path. At first, he didn’t think it was very wonky but then realized that was just the beginning of his discovery.

“But then there was a second one, and a third one, a fourth one, a fifth one—that’s when I was kind of like, ‘Oh, my goodness, what’s going on here?’” he said. “So I started taking pictures. And I didn’t count them all, but there were well over a dozen dead crows.”

He took the following photo:

Credit: Paul Cipywnyk

Robert Alstead had a similar experience when he was riding his bicycle in the area the day before. After noticing a few dead crows he got off his bike to take a look around and saw more in the bushes, many of them huddled together in pairs or trios and spread fairly closely together.

Here’s what he shared on Twitter:

Cipywnyk saw more than a dozen dead birds in the area and Alstead estimated that he personally saw at least three dozen while taking a quick look. He guessed there were probably others hidden from sight, given that he saw many of the crows in the bushes just at the water’s edge. Cipywnyk reported the incident to the City of Burnaby and the Wildlife Rescue Association of BC, who recommended he reach out to the provincial government’s BC Wild Bird Mortality Investigation program.

He said he was told avian flu was likely not the cause of the birds’ deaths; however, the Ministry of Forests, which is involved in the wild bird mortality program, clarified that avian flu has not been ruled out.

“At this time, our labs are prioritizing domestic and agricultural flocks and tracking regional spread. We will release more information as soon as we have it,” the ministry said in an emailed statement.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency, which is the lead for responding to all foreign animal diseases like avian influenza, has listed no incidents or outbreaks in Burnaby on its website. The most recent confirmed instances of avian flu in BC were detected on Tuesday in Langley and Abbotsford. Burnaby Beacon has reached out to the City of Burnaby and the Wildlife Rescue Association of BC for more information.

Credit: Paul Cipywnyk

Cipywnyk described the sight of the dead birds as “eerie”—and noted that there was a murder of live crows in the area that he felt were behaving oddly.

“What I found a little odd was, the crows up in the trees were very quiet. In my experience, if crows see a dead crow they tend to be very concerned—they tend to be making a lot of ruckus and wondering what’s going on. They are very social birds,” Cipywnyk said. “These were just kind of sitting up there in silence. So I don’t know if they were also sick, or… I don’t know what was going on there. It seems specific to that location, and we don’t know why.”

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