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Power line blamed for bird kill in Louisiana

By Janet Mcconnaughey

Associated Press

Published: Tuesday, Jan. 4 2011 2:41 p.m. MST

Assistant State Veterinarian Dr. Brandon Doss examines dead red-winged blackbirds at the Arkansas Livestock and Poultry Commission Diagnostic Laboratory in Little Rock, Ark., Monday, Jan. 3, 2011. Scientists are investigating whether bad weather, fireworks or poison might have forced more than 3,000 red-winged blackbirds out of the sky, or if a disoriented bird simply led the flock into the ground.

Danny Johnston, Associated Press

Enlarge photo»

NEW ORLEANS — Louisiana's state wildlife veterinarian says at least some of an estimated 450 birds that died near Baton Rouge may have flown into a power line.

Jim LaCour said Tuesday the grackles, starlings, brown-headed cowbirds and red-winged blackbirds had broken beaks and backs. He says some live birds had broken wings but ran too fast to catch.

The bird deaths Monday came a few days after about 3,000 blackbirds fell from the sky in central Arkansas. Scientists there say celebratory fireworks on New Year's Eve likely sent the birds into such a tizzy that they crashed into homes, cars and each other before plummeting to their deaths.

Officials say such massive wildlife kills are not uncommon.

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