Rash of Dead Birds Piques Biologist’s Interest

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Jay Barrett/KMXT

An increasing number of dead birds have been showing up downtown near Oscar’s Dock and it’s attracted the interest of federal officials, who initially were concerned the birds were dying from an avian disease. But as Robin Corcoran, the bird biologist for the Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge explains, there are a lot of possible issues at hand.

(Birds 1 45 sec "For me, when I see the corvids … bit of a mystery.")

The majority of the dead birds are pigeons, which are not indigenous, but Corcoran has collected crows and a seagull as well.

(Birds 2 14 sec "The glaucous-winged gull … what they died of.")

Corcoran is concerned that if some of the birds are being poisoned, eagles, which are protected under federal law, could become poisoned, too.

She said there are two hunting seasons for crows, but not in the summertime. As for pigeons, which are listed in the state hunting regs as rock doves, they are fair game year-round, and there is no bag limit. But if they are being shot, it is not illegal, even if it’s in the center of town. Kodiak Police Chief T.C. Kamai says it is NOT illegal to shoot firearms inside city limits, but it must be done in a safe manner. He said the department relies on state law regarding misconduct involving firearms to regulate the issue.

Corcoran says the problem with the bird deaths – especially if they are being killed out of season or expand to migratory or protected species – could span local, state and federal jurisdictions:

(Birds 3 27 sec "To be honest with you … we need for it to stop.")

Corcoran said if anyone has information regarding the bird deaths, they should contact her at the Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge headquarters.

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