Great Tit scare by Sofia centre shoe store

This post should perhaps go in the humour or non-news threads, but perhaps a good one to start a thread about people panicking over pigeons parrots, passerines n other birds that look poorly or dead. (Yikes - they must have got the lurgy, aka H5N1 Super-flu and we're all gonna die!)

So, here's the tale, from Bulgaria:

Dead Bird Found in Sofia Center Civil Defence authorities have collected a dead bird from an intersection in Sofia downtown, SNA reporters witnessed.

The small bird was at the crossing of the Lege and Saborna streets, right across the archeological museum and an expensive shoe store. Its breast feathers were colored in green, and its back in dark colors. It was about the size of a sparrow.

The pickup party was dressed in protective gear and carried a special basket. They sprinkled the site with disinfectants.

Preliminary doubts that the body might have been that of a canary or a starling have not been confirmed yet.

There are suspicions that the bird has died of freezing. It is still unconfirmed whether the bird is of a migratory species.

Amid bird flu fears rising in Bulgaria, the tension is building at the sight of such incidents.

None of the local authorities contacted so far have been notified of the dead bird's pickup.

My oh my - civil defence authorities, protective gear, disinfectant - for a dead Great Tit!! (as photo clearly shows - and hopefully by now the redoubtable defence authorities will have found a half decent bird book, and noted that Great Tits aren't migratory, and even they aren't immortal, especially in winter).

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Meanwhile, a dead pigeon discovered in western Georgia on Thursday caused panic among local residents, according to local television.

[quote]Reports said the bird was found near the central market in the town of Zugdidi, about 300 kilometers (190 miles) west of the capital, Tbilisi.

Witnesses said the pigeon was sitting on an electricity transmission line and then suddenly plummeted to the ground. "It must have been ill with bird flu," people who gathered around the dead bird are reported to have said.[/quote]

Local veterinaries examined the pigeon, and said it had not been infected with bird flu, a television channel, Imedi, said.
http://en.rian.ru/russia/20060112/42977375.html

- another report suggests it had been electrocuted, which seems plausible given the habitat description.

and in southwest China:

[quote]Since 1985, more than 20 thousand red beak seagulls [= common black-headed gulls] travel from Siberia to the southern Yunnan city of Kunming to spend the winter. There, they are given food from the locals and they've been an indispensible part of the local life.

But this year, the fear of bird flu has made people hesitate getting close to the lovely birds, and more than 8000 birds have flown away due to the lack of food.

But, a test on the dead bird shows that it had starved and wasn't carry the deadly virus.

Now for the remaining more than 10,000 birds, the following three months is a critical time during which they need to have enough food to prepare for their long migration back to Siberia.

The paper says many citizens cried at hearing the death of the bird, and they say they will again come out to provide food for their city's precious guests.[/quote]

Red Beak Seagull Starved due to Bird Flu Fear

Scaremongering re wild birds and H5N1 claims another victim.
So deeply sad that so many people have become scared of wild birds.

It's astonishing isn't it. What concerns me, are the people who stop feeding birds through sheer ignorance.

The up side, is they stop buying the intensively farmed chicken in the supermarkets, through fear of "catching that bird flu thing". Hopefully, though I know rather naievely, lack of demand will lead to less intensive farming. ok, I thought not....

So, maybe ironic that after I posted the above, a dead magpie robin in Hong Kong tests positive.
But hasn't caused panic.

And yes, Helen - the ignorance, fuelled by massive disinformation, is astonishing, and deeply sad.

[quote]SKOPJE, Feb 15 (Reuters) - Macedonia's president was locked indoors for three hours this week after an eagle dropped dead in his backyard and vets wary of the spread of bird flu were brought in to disinfect the area. ... "The bird was taken for further analysis and the location has been disinfected," the authority said. "Preliminary results exclude the possibility of bird flu." A source close to the president's office told Reuters the bird plunged to earth in Crvenkovski's garden. The president and his family were told to stay indoors by security officers as veterinary workers checked the area. ... [/quote] Suspect eagle keeps Macedonian president cooped up