Dozens of Birds Drop out of the Sky in Suspected Poisoning: 'The Scene Looked Like a Horror Movie'

Around 60 birds have fallen from the sky and died in the Australian city of Adelaide in a bizarre event that animal rescuers and vets say was probably the result of poisoning.

A team from local non-profit Casper's Bird Rescue say they found a number of short-billed and long-billed corellas—a type of cockatoo—dead or dying near a primary school on Tuesday and Wednesday, ABC News reported.

Long-billed corellas—which made up the majority of the animals discovered—are a protected species in the state of South Australia where Adelaide is located.

Sarah King, founder of Casper's, said that the birds were in significant distress when she arrived at the scene after responding to a call from a volunteer.

"I got a phone call from that carer quite distressed saying they are literally everywhere falling out of the trees, falling out of the sky," King told ABC Adelaide. "It was obvious then that it was a bit more of a situation than we thought.

"The scene looked like a horror movie," she told the BBC. "The birds weren't able to fly and were lying on the ground wailing in pain. Some birds were bleeding out of their mouth. That immediately made us think of poisoning, which we've seen before."

The animals were taken to local veterinarians for treatment but none have survived. Trudy Seidel, one of the vets who tried to save the birds, told ABC that the animals were probably not suffering from an exotic disease and had "more than likely been poisoned. These birds, whoever has done it, they have been left to die a horrible, miserable and very distressful death.

"It's very distressing for all the staff that have been dealing with it and of course for Sarah [King] and the children who saw it in the first place," Seidel said. "The crops on a couple of birds that we did open up after they passed away showed that they were full of grain but we don't have any toxicology to know that's for sure."

Local government agency Biosecurity South Australia and the regional chapter of animal welfare charity The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals are now investigating the cause of the bird deaths to confirm if poisoning was indeed to blame. However, the toxicology tests may take several weeks to provide results.

If the birds were poisoned, King says that the toxicology reports could help to trace the origin and, perhaps, find the person or people responsible. "It's a typical requirement that people must register when they purchase a poison," she said.

Dead corellas
Some of the dead corellas which are thought to have been poisoned in South Australia. Casper's Bird Rescue