HILLSBORO, Ore. – Wildlife officials are investigating a mysterious mass bird death in Hillsboro. Dozens of red-winged blackbirds and European starlings were found dead in a field off West Union Road, along with a bald eagle and red-tailed hawk. There were no obvious signs of death. The birds are being tested in an attempt to figure out how they died.
A man who works nearby first spotted the eagle in the field on Monday. Then he found the hawk nearby, as well as many small birds.
It is unusual and concerning for this many birds to die at once and for there to be several species involved, according to Bob Sallinger, conservation director for the Audubon Society of Portland. Sallinger is not connected to the case, and couldn’t speak to as to specifics, but did share a general concern. “The things we do think about are poisons and toxins. In these kinds of situations, it can be an intentional situation, [or] it can be something that they got into that was unintentional,” he explained.
No one will be able to ascertain precisely what happened until the results of the tests are completed.
If it turns out to be a case of intentional poisoning, someone could face huge fines. The bald eagle and red-tailed hawk are protected species.