Kevin Beech was shocked when he saw birds falling out of the sky near the BC Ferries Tsawwassen terminal on Friday. (Kevin Beech/Facebook)

‘Like an Alfred Hitchcock movie’: Birds fall dead from the sky in B.C. city

Raptor expert says he’s never seen it happen anywhere in the Lower Mainland

When Kevin Beech hopped in his car and drove down to Tsawwassen, he wasn’t expecting to see a scene straight from a horror movie.

He was on his way to visit friends at a community near the BC Ferries’ Tsawwassen terminal Friday night when he spotted dozens of birds just falling from the sky.

“All of a sudden I see something just out of the corner of my eye that’s hitting the ground and I just say ‘what the hell was that,’” Beech told Black Press Media by phone Thursday.

“There’s all these poor little guys dead all over the ground.”

A couple of the birds were still walking around and twitching, Beech said.

“It was like an Alfred Hitchcock movie – like Birds. It was crazy,” he said.

“It was horrible. You could see the poor little guys just dove into the ground. They had little pools of blood around their heads. It was freaking horrible”

After realizing there was nothing he could do, Beech and his friend drove off – but not before snapping a quick photo. When he came back 10 minutes later, they were gone.

“In 10-15 minutes they were all gone… that was almost creepy in a way.”

But although birds falling for the sky is unnerving, their quick pickup wasn’t.

Rob Hope, the raptor care manager at Delta’s Orphaned Wildlife Rehabilitation Society, said they sent a volunteer to pick up the birds.

“Our volunteer found 42 birds,” Hope said. The birds were European starlings, a common species for the region.

Hope sent the birds off to be autopsied by the Canadian Wildlife Service, an arm of Environment Canada. Results are expected in the coming weeks but for now, Hope said he could only speculate on what made the birds fall out of the sky.

“It could be stress, starvation, some sort of toxin… it’s a wait-and-see game until the testing is done,” said Hope.

“They were all in good body condition,” with no clues as to what happened to make the birds drop.

Birds spontaneously dying mid-flight is incredibly rare, he said, noting that he’s only heard of a few cases in the world.

“Not personally and not in my life time.”

Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly identified the Tsawwassen First Nation lands as a reservation. It is not, as they have signed a treaty and became self-governing in 2009.


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

West Kelowna to hire eight more firefighters

The city looks to solve what they are calling a critical shortage of firefighters

Kelowna RCMP look to reunite stamp collection with owner

The stamp collection was handed to RCMP in Oct.

Kelowna RCMP search for speed-slowing cut out

The cut out of Const. Warren Ning has been allegedly taken from A.S. Matheson Elementary School

Battling winter blues, depression and SAD after the holidays

Kick the blues on ‘Blue Monday’ that is supposedly the most depressing day of the year

UPDATE: B.C. legislature managers accused of excessive travel, personal expense claims

Clerk Craig James, security chief Gary Lenz call allegations ‘completely false’

B.C. man fined $10,000 after leaving moose to suffer before death

Surrey man was convicted last week on three Wildlife Act charges

Man charged in 7-Eleven fire in Shuswap granted bail

Accused facing arson charges released with 23 conditions including a 7 p.m. curfew

‘Blue Monday’ isn’t real, but depression can be

CMHA encourages people to prioritize their mental health

Anti-pipeline group wants NEB to consider impact of emissions, climate change

Stand.earth filed NEB motion asking to apply same standard to the project as it did with Energy East pipeline

B.C. man charged in 2014 snake venom death of toddler

Henry Thomas was taking care of the North Vancouver girl the day before she died

Parole granted for drunk driver who killed B.C. RCMP officer

Kenneth Jacob Fenton will be able to attend alcohol abuse treatment, nearly three years after crash that killed Const. Sarah Beckett

B.C.’s largest public-sector union wants inquiry into money laundering, drugs

Union officials say Premier John Horgan and Attorney General David Eby have not ruled out the possibility of a public inquiry

Teen in confrontation with Native American: I didn’t provoke

Nick Sandmann of Covington Catholic High School said he was trying to defuse the situation

Most Read