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Portland Audubon Society: Crows 'literally falling from the sky' poisoned with pesticide

Audubon Society: Crows 'falling from the sky' were poisoned with toxic pesticide. (Photo: KATU)

PORTLAND, Ore. — The Portland Audubon Society confirmed dozens of crows that were reported to have been "falling from the sky" earlier this year were poisoned with a toxic pesticide.

The birds were found to have been poisoned with Avitrol, a neurotoxin used as a restricted pesticide that could only be administered by a licensed official. Avitrol has "acute oral and dermal toxicity" and "extreme toxicity to mammals and birds."

"Each of these dead crows on the ground can be exposed that can be your dog, your cat, or wildlife," Bob Sallinger with the Portland Audubon said.

KATU News reported more than a dozen birds were found in the Piedmont neighborhood of NE Portland on Jan. 30.

"What we saw is very healthy crows that did very suddenly die. They were in good body condition, good weight, good feather condition and literally fell out of the sky and had seizures," Sallinger said.

Annette Jones spotted a crow that had been poisoned in her neighborhood, having a seizure after falling to the ground.

"They're scattered over many, many blocks and we've probably just saw the tip of the iceberg because many of these birds are going to die in backyards, on roof tops," she said.

RELATED: Portland Audubon investigates after crows start 'literally dropping out of the sky'

The Audubon Society says the perpetrators responsible likely violated two federal law; the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act.

"They caused the crows to suffer a cruel and inhumane death and they put people, pets and non-target wildlife at real risk of secondary exposure," an Audubon Society official said in a news release. "Portlanders place great value on our local wildlife. This poisoning event was inhumane, irresponsible, and most likely illegal."

The birds are American Crows, and are protected federally by the MBTA.

Portland Audubon is offering up to a $1,000 reward for information that leads to identifying the cause of this crow mortality event.

There no reported cases of other animals being poisoned as a result of eating dead crows. If a child were to have touched the beak of a poisoned crow, they could have had some health issues as well.

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