Dozens of birds turn up dead in downtown Duluth

Published 11:22 am Thursday, April 25, 2013

DULUTH, Minn. — Dozens of migrating birds died outside Minnesota Power’s main office in downtown Duluth after crashing into the glass this week.

The Bohemian waxwings might have become disoriented and possibly even intoxicated while feeding on dried berries on trees near the building, local bird experts told the Duluth News Tribune. The birds apparently flew into glass partitions adjacent to the building as the birds were flying up to the trees.

Building worker Tim Pohl said he saw hundreds of birds flying and bouncing off the glass and the building Monday. He said he picked up about 100 birds himself, and 37 of them died. He also said three crows gathered nearby to prey on the injured waxwings.

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“It all happened within five minutes. It was like a horror movie,” he said. “There were birds falling out of the sky.”

Minnesota Power spokeswoman Amy Rutledge said Minnesota Power plans to put stickers on the glass panels so that birds will be more likely to see and avoid them.

Bohemian waxwings are just smaller than robins. They often move and feed in large flocks.

“We’re on a major migration route,” said Peggy Farr, a board member at the Wildwoods wildlife rehabilitation center in Duluth. “This is a good time of year to close the blinds so the birds don’t get faked out by the windows.”