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Birds' deaths still a mystery

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About 60 dead or dying birds were found on King Street between Jarvis and Dufferin avenues.

BORIS MINKEVICH / FREE PRESS ARCHIVES Enlarge Image

About 60 dead or dying birds were found on King Street between Jarvis and Dufferin avenues.

Provincial officials have still not determined what killed dozens of birds earlier this month.

A provincial spokeswoman said the office of the chief veterinarian has not completed its testing on the dead birds.

The dead birds were found outside the Ma Mawi Wi Chi Itata community centre on King Street, while about 20 or more were found on the roof of the building, some dead and others twitching.

The Winnipeg Humane Society tested the stomach contents of one of the dead birds but found nothing abnormal and the remaining birds — both alive and dead — were turned over to the province.

Some people have speculated that the grackles were killed by poisoning, either deliberately or accidentally.

While there are laws that prohibit the poisoning of domestic birds and some wild species, it appears there is no legal protection for grackles.

Section 445 (1) of the Criminal Code makes it an offence to use poison to kill or injure pet birds.

The Wildlife Act makes it an offence to use poison to kill a wild animal, which includes some wild birds but a government official said grackles are not among them.

History

Updated on Friday, August 16, 2013 at 1:24 PM CDT: Fixes typo in headline.

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