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SIKESTON, Mo. — More than 1,000 dead birds littered the ground in Sikeston, Missouri after officials said they got caught up in a storm and were injured by high winds or lightning.
“I haven’t seen anything like this before,” said Gwineth Pearson, neighbor. “It’s definitely a freaky incident, but, freaky incidents happen all the time.”
Pearson said she came home to find her grandfather cleaning up a mess.
“My grandpa was like, ‘Something happened,'” said Pearson. “I was like, ‘What?’ and then he said, ‘Well there is just a ton of dead birds everywhere,’ and he picked up about 60. He had trash bags just full of dead birds.”
That led to multiple calls to animal control officials.
“There were residents that were seeing and hearing these birds fall from the sky,” said Andrew Mothershead, Scott County Conservation agent.
Animal control officials reached out to the Missouri Department of Conservation. They said storms on Sunday, March 1 likely knocked the birds out of the air.
“We drove to the area where the birds were being reported dead, and we did an assessment of the birds that we found, and the ones that we are finding injured are just showing injuries like wing injuries,” said Mothershead. “That leads us to believe that maybe they just got caught up in a situation where they were in flight and couldn’t recover.”
Officials noted there was no cause for public health concern.
“They don’t need to wear a mask or breathing apparatus,” said Morthershead. “Just simply put on some gloves, pick the birds up, and place them in the dumpster.”
City officials sent out crews to help clean up the dead birds, and officials said birds left behind would become compost.