20 birds found dead in Massena died of poisoning, Department of Environmental Conservation says
Thursday, November 15, 2012 - 9:13 am

By CRAIG FREILICH

MASSENA --- The mystery of what killed at least 20 birds in Massena early last month is not solved, but there is a clue: it was poison.

“Our pathology lab has determined the birds ingested a poison,” said Department of Environmental Conservation Region 6 spokesman Steve Litwhiler.

The die-off came to light when a Massena woman began finding dead birds in her backyard during the first week of October.

Her dog began bringing dead birds to her, and she began to investigate.

“I thought it was odd and proceeded to the back yard to see if I could find out what was going on,” the woman, who prefers not to be identified, told us. “To my shock, there were about 20 dead or dying birds in my back yard. One fell out of the tree while I was there, flapping its wings, dying.”

The DEC was called in. Initial speculation was that the birds might have been killed by application of a pesticide somewhere, but a sample was sent to the DEC laboratory for analysis.

“We have been able to rule out some pesticides but further analyses are underway to try to determine the specific poison,” Litwhiler said.