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200 more birds die mysteriously

Environmental News Alert: Australia
Jan 18, 2007
AUTHORITIES in Western Australia are again baffled by the unexplained deaths of more than 200 birds in a small farming community.
It follows the mysterious deaths of an estimated 4000 native birds at Esperance on the state's south coast in a phenomenon that has sparked worldwide scientific attention.
The Department of Environment and Conservation yesterday confirmed that another mysterious bird kill had occurred at Narembeen, 300km southeast of Perth, earlier this month.
Unlike the first incident, the dead birds at the tiny Wheatbelt town - more than 400km west of Esperance - have been identified as treemartins, similar to swallows, which are migratory insect-eaters known to enjoy moderate climates. They can be vulnerable to cold temperatures and wet conditions.
But because the deaths happened two weeks ago and were only reported to environment and agriculture authorities last week, scientists have been unable to carry out any detailed tests on a small number of decomposing remains to establish whether they died of exposure or something more mysterious.
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