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DEC investigating dead birds in Massena

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MASSENA - The Department of Environmental Conservation says they’re working with a Massena woman to determine why about 20 birds had died in her back yard.

The Massena woman, who asked not to be identified, said she made the discovery after her dog brought her a bird that was dead.

“On Tuesday, my dog brought me a dead bird. This was the second dead bird in two days. I thought it was odd and proceeded to the back yard to see if I could find out what was going on. To my shock, there were about twenty dead or dying birds in my back yard. One fell out of the tree while I was there flapping it’s wings dying,” she said in an email.

The woman, who said she lives in a country setting, brought her dog into the house and called the Department of Health.

“She stated that something drew the birds to my property. I assured her we had not sprayed any chemicals and that our apple trees has not been sprayed for at least the last five years. She told me there was nothing she could do as the samples were not going to be good when someone got here,” the Massena woman said.

“How she knew there would be no dying birds when she got here, I don’t know. She also told me to keep my dog inside,” she added.

At that point, the woman said she called the Department of Environmental Conservation, where a technician in their Potsdam office asked questions and requested photos of the birds.

As of Thursday, the woman said she had not heard from the DEC since reporting the incident, although she said a DEC vehicle was spotted on their road the next day.

But, DEC spokesman Stephen W. Litwhiler said Thursday, they are investigating the incident.

“We have been working with the woman,” he said.

He suggested the birds may have been starlings.

“It sounds like these are starlings. She’s surrounded by farms. They may have been doing starling control, which is legal,” Mr. Litwhiler said. “We’re trying to get to the bottom of it.”

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