A large number of dead galahs have shown signs of possible poisoning after “literally falling out of the sky” in South Australia’s Lower Lakes region. Magpies and pigeons also affected. Just a few months after more than 200 galahs were found dead, dropping from the sky, in Burra, also in Australia.
“A lot of people in the area, including those who come here for holidays, are distraught by seeing these animals literally falling out of the sky. It’s absolutely horrific. They go down so fast and you can see how their claws are balled up because they can’t hold onto the branch any more and fall out of the trees. They’re literally face down on the ground,” Ms Hope said.
Ms Hope sent two of the dead birds to Biosecurity SA which delivered a pathological report indicating a “significant congestion of organs, which commonly occurs with poisons/toxicity“.
There were no signs of disease and the agency described it as a suspected poisoning involving 50 birds in the Milang area.
Ms Hope said more than 100 birds had since been found and she had delivered a further 20 for toxin and pesticide testing. The cause of the mortality did not appear to be an infectious disease.
Magpies and pigeons also affected
Ms Hope said she had since heard reports of galahs being found in Murray Bridge and at Goolwa, and hoped the Government took it further to test the environment and find out where the “chemicals were coming from”.
She said in the past week the deaths had crossed species into magpies and pigeons, while a large bird of prey, possibly a wedge-tailed eagle, had been found in an advanced state of decomposition. “It’s face down and has died in the same way. It’s really tragic.“
She said corellas had just started to arrive in the region but that the galahs came first in larger numbers than usual.
“It seems they’re coming down to the lake because it’s so dry up north, but the first flock that came down has become nothing within a couple of weeks.
Burra bird deaths remain unsolved
Earlier this year some 200 galahs were found dead in the town of Burra in the state’s mid-north. An investigation by the Department for Environment and Water was unable to find a cause of death.