Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Don't drink and fly

Booze and flying didn't mix for Austrian songbirds
Last Updated Thu, 02 Feb 2006 15:13:44 EST
CBC News

Alcohol, not avian flu, contributed to the deaths of 40 songbirds in Vienna last month, Austrian veterinarians have found.

Experts initially feared the birds were killed by bird flu. However, tests showed their livers were damaged from intoxication. They were all been found with their necks broken after flying into windows across the city.

The livers of the birds resembled those of "chronic alcoholics," Sonja Wehsely, a spokeswoman for Vienna's veterinary authority, told Austrian television on Thursday.

The birds apparently got tipsy gorging on fermented berries.

Alcohol from the rotting berries may have caused the birds to become disoriented and fly into the windows, she said.

* FROM OCT. 9, 1999: Scarecrows move to the city to aid bird migration

It's estimated 100 million birds die each year across North America after crashing into glass office buildings.


Trib said...

I don't know why this is funny, helpless little birds dying, but I laughed.

Jennifer said...

it's not funny, you're going to hell for thinking that it is.

just kidding, we can't control what we think is funny.

i actually have a big interest in this, there's an organization in Toronto, and I'm not sure where else, called the fatal light awareness program - flap www.flap.org, which collects birds who fly into office buildings during migratory season. they nurse the live ones back to health and they donate the bodies of the dead ones to various museums. I work at a museum in toronto and was able to see the stuffing of a bird who had hit an office tower, it's little skull was crushed. anyway, we use the stuffed birds to teach museum visitors about birds and feathers and why office towers should save on electricity and save lives by turning off their lights at night - especially during the migratory seasons.

Jennifer said...

If I could control what I thought was funny I wouldn't always laugh when my friends get hurt.

Lindsey said...

Awww. Poor birds. That just hurt my feelings a little bit for them.