Neurotoxin kills 20+ crows in Portland
A murder of crows found dead in Northeast Portland in late January were poisoned with a neurotoxin, state officials and wildlife advocates say.
Approximately 20 crows were seen "falling from the sky" and appeared to be suffering fatal seizures on Tuesday, Jan. 30 near the intersection of Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Northeast Jessup Street.
A second suspicious die-off of six crows was reported on Monday, Feb. 5 near the park blocks of Portland State University, according to news release by the Audubon Society of Portland.
Now, researchers with the Oregon State Veterinary Diagnostic Lab and Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife have confirmed that the crows were killed using a drug sold under the brand name "Avitrol."
The pesticide causes "acute oral and dermal toxicity" and is considered extremely dangerous to birds and mammals. Handlers are required to bury or cremate all birds killed in this manner because of the risk of unintended deaths from scavengers who eat or touch the corpses.
Audubon Conservation Director Bob Sallinger believes the alleged perpetrator has violated at least two federal laws, including rules that protect migratory birds and that govern the use of outdoor poisons.
"(The poisoner) caused the crows to suffer a cruel and inhumane death and they put people, pets and non-target wildlife at real risk of secondary exposure," the Audubon Society said in a statement. "Portlanders place great value on our local wildlife. This poisoning event was inhumane, irresponsible, and most likely illegal."
The Oregon Department of Agriculture launched an investigation into the apparent poisoning on Thursday, March 8.