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Dozens of birds fall from New Jersey sky, die

August 15, 2012 4:17:26 AM PDT
Dozens of birds fell from the sky and died Tuesday morning in southern New Jersey, startling neighbors.

Authorities say that a legally applied pesticide is to blame.

Residents of Millville saw birds - mostly red-winged blackbirds buts also some sparrows - falling around 8:30 a.m.

Police responded to calls by using a reverse 911 system to tell people living on a few streets to stay inside while they figured out what was going on.

Cumberland County spokesman Troy Ferus told WPVI-TV that county officials traced the deaths to Avitrol, a chemical that suppresses a bird's nervous system. Ferus said the farmer, who was licensed to use the chemical, acknowledged spraying the pesticide Monday.

Michelle Cavalieri told The News of Cumberland County that it was like a horror movie. Birds would fall, try to get up and fall again until they could not move at all.

Darlene Knoll said she saw birds fall to the ground off a feeder.

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