Hundreds of dying birds dropping from sky

CARLOW TOWN shoppers encountered extraordinary scenes at the weekend as countless numbers of dead birds dramatically fell from the sky.

The astonishing sight was witnessed in Tullow Street, Kennedy Street, Graiguecullen and around Carlow Castle as pigeons, sparrows, blackbirds and even robins dropped from the sky at an alarming rate.

While some birds were found dead, others were completely debilitated, horrifying passers-by in their shocked state and continual spasms.

Suspicions are rife that the birds had fallen victim to a substance known as "sleepy crow" which anaesthetises birds and is often used in the control of pigeons.

However the use of the substance at this time of year when birds are hungry and at their most vulnerable has angered animal-welfare groups.

"It's very irresponsible to do something like that," remarked Carlow ISPCA Inspector Jean Bird.

"There are other ways of dealing with unwanted pigeons," she added.

Ms Bird stated that there was no way of putting a figure on the number of birds that died, but it is believed to have been in excess of 100.

"Definitely a large number but we'll never know the full extent. When the birds are unable to fly many of them would have died with the cold, have been run over or fallen victim to animals," she added.

Ms Bird indicated that cats or dogs that came in contact with the affected birds might also fall victim to the substance over the coming days.

Cllr Mary White stated that she had been contacted by a number of people who had been shocked by the upsetting sights of birds falling from the sky on Saturday.

"Children on Tullow Street in particular were horrified by this," she said.

Cllr White called for a full investigation into the matter and questioned if the action was contrary to the 1976 Wildlife Act or if people require a licence to use the substance.

© Carlow Nationalist.