Northern Bald Ibis © Stephen Daly from the surfbirds galleries

By Amanda O'Brien

BIRDS are again dropping dead from the sky in a new toxic drama in Western Australia.

Nearly 200 ibises, ravens, gulls, ducks and a pelican were found dead or frothing and convulsing in Perth at the weekend.

The discovery comes a year after the mysterious mass death of 200 birds only a few kilometres away and two years after the Esperance lead contamination scandal which emptied the skies over the holiday town of Esperance for months when thousands of birds were poisoned.

The Department of Environment and Conservation yesterday blamed the latest deaths on the pesticide Fenthion, but said it was unclear whether it was a deliberate bird poisoning or had been caused by someone illegally dumping pesticide.

The dead and dying birds were found at a rubbish tip and in pools of water at a neighbouring quarry site in the southern suburb of Henderson.

DEC pollution response manager Ken Raine said samples had been taken from waterways to check for contamination and the rubbish tip had been covered with sand while investigations were continuing.

Fenthion is a broad-spectrum organophosphorus insecticide used to control horticultural pests such as fruit fly and aphids as well as mosquitoes and other insects. ...

In 2007, a catastrophic bird kill in Esperance, 725km southeast of Perth, silenced the dawn chorus for months when up to 10,000 wattle birds, yellow-throated miners, honeyeaters and other species died. The drama was the first warning of a lead contamination scandal which was later found to have caused dangerously high lead levels in children. ...

Spray blamed for new bird deaths via Apocadocs



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