“SOMETHING is going on.”
It’s how the president of the volunteer-run Hunter Wildlife Rescue described the mysterious deaths of 50 corellas found in Warners Bay Park last week.
All but confirming the grave fears, autopsies conducted by Toronga Zoo found poison was the "most likely” cause of death for the protected wild bird.
And since photographs of the birds were shared on social media, others in Belmont and Windale, not far from Warners Bay Park, said they have also found clusters of dead birds.
“When you hear of things like this – and you find 50 dead birds in the past week in one particular area – you realise something is going on,” Hunter Wildlife Rescue president Jill Dean said.
Whether the birds were deliberately poisoned will be investigated, but Ms Dean said it would not be the first time local corellas have met foul play.
“I hate to think of some of the reasons behind why someone would do this,” she said.
“It could be the noise, it could be the poo on the road – there are a multitude of factors that could have led to this.
“Some people, and I get this when I answer the phone, just don’t like wildlife.”
The NSW Environment Protection Authority will conduct a toxicology report after Toronga Zoo determined there was a “bait-like” substance found inside the deceased birds.
“The birds all seem to be in quite good body condition and had no visible lesions. (Eight of 11) of the birds had mixed grain, similar to store bought bird seed, in their crops and gastrointestinal tracts,” concluded Taronga Conservation Society veterinarian Karrie Rose.
“Given the focal nature of the mortality event, lack of lesions suggestive of infectious or parasitic disease, lack of evidence of trauma, and presence of bait-like material in the majority of gastrointestinal tracts of affected animals, poisoning seems most likely.”
Ms Dean urged anyone with information over the deaths to come forward.
She said the poison may not be isolated to corellas and could be affecting other native wildlife.
“From our perspective, we want it to stop,” Ms Dean said.
“If the birds have been deliberately poisoned, that person should know corellas are a protected species.”
The wildlife group’s reporting hotline is 0418 628 483.