Birds found dead at Cumbrian primary school suffered from alcohol poisoning
Last updated at 12:20, Monday, 05 November 2012
Young blackbirds found dead at a primary school in Cumbria suffered from alcohol poisoning, according to an investigation.
Animal health specialists were called to examine a dozen birds found in the playground, many with trauma injuries.
Post-mortem analysis revealed that one of the birds had a large amount of pure alcohol in its liver.
Scientists suggest the birds sustained their injuries in flight because they were intoxicated by fermented berries.
Staff from the Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency (AHVLA) published their results in the Veterinary Record. They did not reveal the location of the school.
A local wildlife sanctuary cared for a further bird found in the area, which they described as unsteady on its feet, using its wings to support itself and leaning on the walls of its enclosure. When AHVLA researchers analysed the dead birds they found all the birds had eaten berries from a nearby rowan tree.
Tim Harrison, development officer of the British Trust for Ornithology’s (BTO) Garden BirdWatch explained: “Generally speaking, birds that have a lot of fruit in their diet are more efficient at metabolising alcohol and are better adapted at eating fruit that has higher alcohol concentrations.”
“There are anecdotal reports of birds acting ‘drunk’ but these tend to be very rare”.
But damaged berries were also recorded on the ground where the birds were discovered. Birds with a diet rich in fruit have a greater tolerance to alcohol.
First published at 12:10, Monday, 05 November 2012
Published by http://www.newsandstar.co.uk