WITNESSES have described birds “dropping out of the sky” at One Tree Hill (OTH) Primary School last Wednesday after around 60 corellas died in an apparent poisoning incident.
WITNESSES have described birds “dropping out of the sky” at One Tree Hill (OTH) Primary School last Wednesday after around 60 corellas died in an apparent poisoning incident. Students participating in vocational out of school hours care saw the birds die as they flew around the school, prompting staff to call local wildlife rescuer Casper
’s Bird Rescue. The organisation sent one volunteer to investigate the incident, but called in another 10 after the full extent of the poisoning had been realised. It was initially thought all the birds had perished, but the work of a local vet meant one little corella survived the ordeal. Casper
’s Bird Rescue founder Sarah King said she had “never seen anything like” the mass death of birds at the school. “I thought he (the first rescuer sent to the incident) was being overdramatic, but we headed out there and they were literally under the base of every tree, we saw them dropping out of trees, on their last legs,” she said. “One of my carers saw one in flight and drop out of the sky. “The little corella who survived spent four days with the vet before he was good to go.” Mrs King said the birds had fallen dead across a square-kilometre radius, with most of the dead birds being long-billed corellas, with the remaining little corellas. The bird rescuers were called to OTH Primary School during the late afternoon and did not leave until 11.30pm the same evening, before returning in the morning to complete a final check of the area. The school posted on its Facebook
page on Wednesday evening that a vacation care staff member had called school staff after finding dead corellas “everywhere”. “The children in vacation care were very upset at the scene of birds falling from the sky and in pain with blood coming out of their mouths,” the post read. “The children were so caring and wanted to make sure the birds got some help. “A big thank you to a local bird wildlife rescue for attending the school and helping to collect at least 50 birds and take them to the vet.” The incident comes just a fortnight after a state parliamentary inquiry recommended declaring little corellas as an “overabundant” species and taking immediate action to control their population. The RSPCA, the Department of Environment and Water, and Primary Industries and Regions SA are investigating the cause of the alleged poisoning.