Kevin Beech was shocked when he saw birds falling out of the sky near the BC Ferries Tsawwassen terminal on Friday. (Kevin Beech/Facebook)

Kevin Beech was shocked when he saw birds falling out of the sky near the BC Ferries Tsawwassen terminal on Friday. (Kevin Beech/Facebook)

‘Like an Alfred Hitchcock movie’: Birds fall dead from the sky in B.C. city

Raptor expert says he’s never seen it happen anywhere in the Lower Mainland

When Kevin Beech hopped in his car and drove down to Tsawwassen, he wasn’t expecting to see a scene straight from a horror movie.

He was on his way to visit friends at a community near the BC Ferries’ Tsawwassen terminal Friday night when he spotted dozens of birds just falling from the sky.

“All of a sudden I see something just out of the corner of my eye that’s hitting the ground and I just say ‘what the hell was that,’” Beech told Black Press Media by phone Thursday.

“There’s all these poor little guys dead all over the ground.”

A couple of the birds were still walking around and twitching, Beech said.

“It was like an Alfred Hitchcock movie – like Birds. It was crazy,” he said.

“It was horrible. You could see the poor little guys just dove into the ground. They had little pools of blood around their heads. It was freaking horrible”

After realizing there was nothing he could do, Beech and his friend drove off – but not before snapping a quick photo. When he came back 10 minutes later, they were gone.

“In 10-15 minutes they were all gone… that was almost creepy in a way.”

But although birds falling for the sky is unnerving, their quick pickup wasn’t.

Rob Hope, the raptor care manager at Delta’s Orphaned Wildlife Rehabilitation Society, said they sent a volunteer to pick up the birds.

“Our volunteer found 42 birds,” Hope said. The birds were European starlings, a common species for the region.

Hope sent the birds off to be autopsied by the Canadian Wildlife Service, an arm of Environment Canada. Results are expected in the coming weeks but for now, Hope said he could only speculate on what made the birds fall out of the sky.

“It could be stress, starvation, some sort of toxin… it’s a wait-and-see game until the testing is done,” said Hope.

“They were all in good body condition,” with no clues as to what happened to make the birds drop.

Birds spontaneously dying mid-flight is incredibly rare, he said, noting that he’s only heard of a few cases in the world.

“Not personally and not in my life time.”

Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly identified the Tsawwassen First Nation lands as a reservation. It is not, as they have signed a treaty and became self-governing in 2009.


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A map released by the BCCDC on Jan. 15 shows the number of new COVID-19 cases reported for each local health area between Jan. 3 and 9. (BCCDC Image)
Salmon Arm and Vernon see increase in new COVID cases, curve flattening elsewhere

The rate of new cases is levelling off in Kelowna, Penticton and Revelstoke.

The Premier Hotel on Summerland’s Main Street and the taxi were owned by Bill and Lydia Johnston. Today, the building is Sass Fashions in Summerland. H.S. Kenyon, who moved the building to Summerland from Midway, continued with building construction. His family now operates Greyback Construction. (Photo courtesy of the Summerland Museum)
Two former Summerland hotel buildings have been moved over the years

Transport of buildings is part of community’s history

Interior Health update. File photo.
86 new COVID-19 cases, two more deaths in Interior Health

The new deaths are from Heritage Square, a long-term care facility in Vernon

The Okanagan Boys and Girls Clubs is inviting everyone to join them in celebrating Pink Shirt Day safely at home. (Okanagan Boys and Girls Clubs)
Pink Shirt Day re-imagined as COVID-19 pandemic continues

The Boys and Girls Clubs are introducing Breakfast in a Box

Keith the curious kitten is seen on Nov. 4, 2020 at the Chilliwack SPCA. Friday, Jan. 22, 2021 is Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Jan. 17 to 23

Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day, Pie Day and International Sweatpants Day are all coming up this week

Mount Boucherie Secondary School is one of three Kelowna schools with confirmed cases of COVID-19, according to an update from the school district Saturday, Jan. 16, 2021. (File photo)
COVID-19 confirmed at 3 Kelowna schools

Interior Health has confirmed exposures at Mount Boucherie, Springvalley and South Rutland schools

Half of the most expensive homes are on 2080 Mackenzie Crt, which is across the street from Revelstoke Mountain Resort. (Liam Harrap/Revelstoke Review)
The 10 most valuable homes in Revelstoke for 2020

Combined, the properties are worth more than $35M

Lake Country native Evan-Riley Brown is in the cast for the new film Journey To Royal: A WW II Rescue Mission to be released on video on demand and streaming services on Feb. 2. (Contributed)
Okanagan actor lands role in WW II movie

Evan-Riley Brown, from Lake Country, cast in production labelled as hybrid of a feature film and documentary called Journey To Royal: a WW II Rescue Mission.

JaHyung Lee, “Canada’s oldest senior” at 110 years old, received his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. He lives at Amenida Seniors Community in Newton. (Submitted photo: Amenida Seniors Community)
More than 20 days have passed since the last case of COVID-19 was confirmed at Lakeside Manor. (File photo)
Salmon Arm retirement facility reopens social areas after COVID-19

More than 20 days have passed since last confirmed case at Lakeside Manor

A unique-looking deer has been visiting a Nanoose Bay property with its mother. (Frieda Van der Ree photo)
A deer with 3 ears? Unique animal routinely visits B.C. property

Experts say interesting look may be result of an injury rather than an odd birth defect

Standardized foundation skills assessment tests in B.C. schools will be going ahead later than usual, from Feb. 16 to March 12 for students in Grades 4 and 7. (Black Press Media file photo)
B.C. teachers say COVID-affected school year perfect time to end standardized tests

Foundational skills testing of Grade 4 and 7 students planned for February ad March

Sooke’s Jim Bottomley is among a handful of futurists based in Canada. “I want to help people understand the future of humanity.” (Aaron Guillen - Sooke News Mirror)
No crystal ball: B.C. man reveals how he makes his living predicting the future

63-year-old has worked analytical magic for politicians, car brands, and cosmetic companies

Most Read