From The Guardian:
"AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - Police shut down 10 blocks of businesses in the heart of downtown Monday morning after dozens of birds were found dead in the streets, but officials said preliminary tests showed no air quality problems and the area reopened around 1 p.m.
As many as 60 dead pigeons, sparrows and grackles were found overnight along Congress Avenue, a main route through downtown. No human injuries or illnesses were reported.
"We do not feel there is a threat to the public health," said Adolfo Valadez, the medical director for Austin and Travis County Health and Human Services.
He said preliminary air-quality tests showed no dangerous chemicals, though the dead birds would be sent for further testing to rule out viruses or poison.
Experts at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the National Audubon Society said the most likely cause was a deliberate poisoning of the troublesome grackles, which is more common than people think. It's also legal, with local permits, said Greg Butcher, director of bird conservation at the Audubon in Washington.
Austin officials were smart to take it so seriously, though, Butcher said, because birds' "requirements for life are pretty similar to our requirements for life" so they can serve as an early warning for risks to human health.
On Congress Avenue, just beyond the state Capitol steps, emergency workers donned yellow hazardous-material suits Monday morning, and dozens of fire trucks and ambulances were parked nearby."
Poisoning grackles for fun and profit! Yes, I'm sure... that's why a licensed pest control company let the city know that they were going to be culling grackles before the spring population boom, and that's why the birds showed obvious signs of being poisoned... Oh, wait, none of that is true!
Of course none of the AP sources are dropping the big one as a possible cause for these RATHER UNUSUAL DEATHS: highly-pathogenic avian influenza.
We wouldn't want to cause a panic, now would we!
I think its pretty fitting that the grackle would be the bringer of doom to the USA. Here's a picture of one, they're all over the Southwest:
The stars shine bright, dead birds cause fright...
Deep in the heart of Texas!! (clap clap clap)