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Va. Dept. of Wildlife Resources investigating death of 15 birds in Harrisonburg’s Court Square

Feather on ground outside Rockingham County Courthouse
Feather on ground outside Rockingham County Courthouse(WHSV)
Updated: Apr. 7, 2021 at 7:45 PM EDT
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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) - The Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources (DWR) is investigating what killed more than a dozen birds outside of Court Square in Harrisonburg over the course of a few days.

“In my almost 14 years here, I’ve never seen anything like this,” Clerk of Court Chaz Haywood said.

Haywood said over the last week, employees at the courthouse have found multiple dead birds outside on the northside of the building, where the water fountain is normally displayed.

“I’m guessing we had probably up to upwards of 15 or more [birds] over just a few-day-period, and many different species and sizes as well,” Haywood said.

He said around every other hour, a different bird could be found dead, either on the ground, on the steps of the courthouse or on the top balcony.

“An individual who works here in the building stood looking out of a window and one of them just fell right onto the balcony right in front of him,” Haywood said.

The birds were of different species, including American Woodcocks, a Red-Headed Woodpecker, doves, and ducks.

A local environmentalist for the city said they found it odd considering the different species of bird do not eat from the same source. Several reports were given to DWR, and Haywood said a person came to pick up the birds on Wednesday to be tested.

“We will be sending those birds down to a lab in Georgia, which is actually the closest and best lab that a bunch of states works with,” Paige Pearson, with DWR, said. “So once we get those results back, we’ll have a little more understanding about what’s going on.”

For now, DWR and Haywood ask if you find a dead bird in Court Square, report it at 540-248-9360.

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