West Nile Ruled Out in Mystery Bird Deaths - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

07/06/05

West Nile Ruled Out in Mystery Bird Deaths

You don't expect to see dead or dying birds in your backyard. One Savannah woman did recently. The big question is, what killed them?

Last month, Diane Connerat found seven dead or dying birds in the driveway of her Ardsley Park home in the span of just a few days.

"That scared me because I was afraid to go out in the backyard because I thought, 'Oh no, it's going to keep happening,'" she said.

Tuesday, tests on the birds themselves came back negative for West Nile virus, and mosquito pools around her neighborhood also showed no signs of it. That certainly made Connerat feel a little better.

"Oh absolutely, because matter of fact, I saw a mosquito in my house and I thought, 'I hope this is not West Nile,'" she said. "Because we still hadn't heard."

Connerat and the health department are both still very interested in finding out what it was that killed the birds. Especially because of how bizarre the deaths appeared to be.

"They couldn't fly, they were dying, they were being eaten from the inside out and maggots were surrounding their eyes," recalled Connerat. "It was horrible."

But since those first few dead birds, Connerat hasn't seen any more and hopes it stays that way.

The state labs in Athens will run a few more tests on the birds before issuing a final report.

Reported by: Chris Cowperthwaite, ccowperthwaite@wtoc.com

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