Dozens of dead crows found in Portland parks

ODFW will conduct necropsies, Audobon Society helping to investigate

About 30 dead crows were found in downtown Portland parks, Nov. 26, 2014 (KO(IN 6 News)
About 30 dead crows were found in downtown Portland parks, Nov. 26, 2014 (KO(IN 6 News)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN 6) — About 30 dead crows were found along the Willamette River waterfront and some Portland parks, and officials don’t have any idea at this time what caused their deaths.

Several crows were seen suffering seizures and flopping on the ground at Waterfront Park, police said, and several dead crows were seen nearby. Other dead crows were found around Chapman and Lownsdale Square parks and the Lovejoy Fountain.

PPB Sgt. Roger Axtelm said the bureau “had a number of phone calls from citizens calling about the blackbirds that were down and apparently ill. Some were deceased.”

A few of the birds were alive but in bad shape. Bob Sallinger with the Portland Audobon Society said the ones still alive “were convulsing.”

About 30 dead crows were found in downtown Portland parks, Nov. 26, 2014 (KO(IN 6 News)
About 30 dead crows were found in downtown Portland parks, Nov. 26, 2014 (KO(IN 6 News)

He said they don’t know what caused them to die, “but it’s very possible they got into some kind of toxin. The birds that I took a look at already looked very healthy, good body condition. Good feather condition. They died suddenly from something.”

Portlanders who spoke with KOIN 6 News, like Hunter Hesslink, were more than a little curious about the bird deaths.

“I don’t think it’s healthy at all to be around dead crows,” Hesslink said. “I don’t think that’s safe, and birds carry diseases. So I think they should look into it, at least.”

Sallinger said there is no real reason to worry. “As a member of the public, I would not be concerned.”

But he said if you see a dead crow, don’t touch it. Call the Audobon Society.

He also said it’s too early to tell if the birds died a natural death or if it was intentional.

ODFW will conduct necropsies on each of the birds. Anyone coming across dead crows in Portland parks should not move them and should call the Park Ranger Hotline at 503.823.1637.

“Sometimes these things remain mysteries. There are some obvious things that you look for, but it can be a needle in a haystack,” Sallinger said.

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