Hundreds of birds found dead in Davis County

Published: Tuesday, Dec. 20 2011 6:33 p.m. MST

CLEARFIELD — Officials have spent the last few days cleaning up after a number of European starlings were found dead near a Davis County park.

It is estimated that close to 400 birds have been found in the area of Kiwanis Park, near 300 North and Vine Street, since Saturday, according to J.J. Allen, assistant Clearfield city manager. That said no one knows who made the decision to place pellets, which are clearly visible, in the area.

"We had been told by the state Division of Wildlife Resources that the U.S. Department of Agriculture Wildlife Services Division had raided European starlings, but now DWR is retracting the statement," Allen said. "Nobody is taking responsibility."

A large number of birds were also found dead near 1000 West and 1800 North in Clinton, said Clint Thacker, director of Animal Care and Control for Davis County. The cause of that incident was equally mysterious.

Mike Linnell of the U.S. Department of Agriculture said his organization was not responsible for the deaths. He explained that European starlings are an invasive species that are not protected and could be shot on sight.

Area resident John Egbert said he's lived near Kiwanis Park since 1970 and had never seen such a large number of birds. He said they take up camp in 15 or so large pine trees in the park and look like "a big gob" that entirely cover the trees.

"I have never seen the birds in the fall that come together — it's not a flock, they're like swarms," he said. "We're talking thousands and thousands of birds. They come in and it looks like a cloud."

But Allen said that, for now, whatever is killing the birds remains a mystery.

"What exactly happened to them, we don't know," he said. "Clearfield's only involvement is cleaning up the birds."

This incident is not related to the deaths of thousands of birds who crashed into snow-covered parking lots and football fields in St. George last week believing it was open water.

Contributing: Associated Press

Emiley Morgan, Twitter: DNewsCrimeTeam

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