Silliest bird flu non-stories

Today, I came across a news item on Falcon's death in N-E: Is it bird flu?

starts breathlessly:

The death of a Red-Legged Falcon near Barak river in Manipur's Tamenglong district has triggered a bird flu scare in the area, prompting a team of forest officials and wildlife activists to rush to the spot.

- and runs to a whole 285 words, to tell us a decomposed falcon was found dead and (as yet) not even a hint it died of bird flu. That's gotta trump various other stories that have made news lately, like some dead pigeons found in Malaysia and tested for bird flu (negative). Or even the dead waterbirds found in an Indian nature reserve and tested for flu: negative; they were nestlings, and had been blown to the ground during a cyclone. But, these are crazy times. - when someone can even post here, with query related to safety of feeding titmice and chickadees in backyard in H5N1 free US (take care sir, those pesky little birds might swoop down and peck at you with their tiny little bills).

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There are so many to choose from...however, a recent favorite of mine concerned someone breathlessly announcing that five dead 'songbirds' had been found at the base of a building in some city. I live near a large city and the probem of birds being killed by flying into windows is an ongoing concern. There has also been a campaign to encourage building tenants to turn off all the lights at night because this can be disorienting to migrating birds. Correct me if I am wrong, but it sounds to me like these songbirds simply flew into the building rather than being potential cases of H5N1. Another troubling aspect of all this is the sudden appearance of many, many 'experts' on all aspects of ornithology who probably couldn't tell you if it was a robin or a cardinal in their backyard this morning.

A reporter at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has collected a few of the sillier bird flu stories, including birds flying into glass (yes, happens pretty often), a seagull drunk after eating yeast (but killed by humans fearful of flu), and a Russian member of parliament suggesting H5N1 was created by Americans so they could dominate the world poultry markets.

[url=http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/05312/602370.stm]Avian flu worries create tough times for seagulls, pigeons[/url]

Post edited by: martin, at: 2005/11/09 03:18