It’s like a scene from Alfred Hitchcock’s horror classic “The Birds,” but for residents of one Kentucky town it’s a horror show brought to life as birds descend on their town by the tens of thousands. The birds, which have been discovered moving by the thousands have – for reasons unknown – decided they would make this town their home unexpectedly in such massive numbers that sometimes the larger flocks swarming in the sky even block out the sun.
The residents, which have been patient with the birds are now starting to consider taking action against the massive numbers of birds have found themselves in the midst of a growing mystery as no one really understands just why so many are nesting in the area. While the intimidating sight of thousands of birds alone isn’t enough to locals in La Grange, Kentucky, there is quite a bit else the presence of the birds has been disrupting. For example, the waste the massive clouds of birds leave behind is becoming quite a problem for cleanup crews.
After the birds first started arriving in November of 2011, it was expected their populations may die down or become less active as the winter months wore on. But now at the tail end of January it seems their numbers might actually still be growing. And many of them don’t actually nest in the city limits during the night time hours, instead preferring to flee for the woods as the sun begins to set – creating a massive display of numbers that still shocks visitors rolling through town.
But one of the stranger elements of the birds’ presence is the arrival of another mysterious wave of breathing problems. And it’s not uncommon to connect an increased risk for respiratory illness to massive flocks of birds in a small or enclosed space. While many bird owners have lived for years in close proximity to birds without problem, some fungi such as Histoplasmosis find the droppings, feathers, and nesting areas around birds to be quite a tempting target to thrive in. And while no known official reports of illness have been released in conjunction with the unexplained gathering of this size, some residents are voicing concerns over the complications the birds’ presence may have on the health of locals.
Just what could be causing this massive gathering of birds, and has this sort of thing happened before? While explanations as to why are slim, there is some precedent to unexpected numbers of birds suddenly descending on a small town. In 2008 Scottish Drivers had to be warned via public service announcements of huge flocks of Starlings that had unexpectedly arrived in Southern Scotland. Even Normal, Illinois saw its share of massive bird invasions – though residents of La Grange may say that relatively small invasion was a bit less epic than what’s being seen daily there.
While some members of the public have begun using sound to scare off the birds they have met with limited success.