POISONED seed mix is believed to have been used to kill up to 200 corellas in Armidale yesterday.
The white native parrots, similar in appearance to the white cockatoo, started dropping in the morning and by mid-afternoon, the local council had counted at least 120 dead birds around the city.
The birds often flock in their thousands and are considered pests by many and some councils, in the past, have even attempted to cull them.
They were found in several of the city’s parks, where deposits of the poison are thought to have been planted on the ground in the last day or so.
Brown St and the Watson Park area, the Civic Park area near the Creeklands, and Albion Park near the TAFE campus, were the first zones where the dead birds were found.
More birds were later found between those locations, including near the railway station.
Armidale Dumaresq Council’s civic and recreation services manager Phil Brown said, at first, they didn’t know whether it was poisoning or the hot weather, or some kind of virus.
An Environment Protection Authority (EPA) officer soon became involved and confirmed the deaths were more than likely deliberate and a result of some kind of poison.
The matter is being treated seriously by the EPA and local police, who conducted door knocks around the areas yesterday afternoon to appeal for information.
The EPA initially quizzed the council on any chemicals or sprays it might have recently used, but it was soon given the all-clear when samples of the seed mix were found.
Mr Brown said the corella deaths were the first he had seen in his 20 years at the council.
“The information that I have had is that the poison has some kind of asphyxiation effect,” he said.
He said no other animals or birds were thought to have been affected but they would continue looking into the matter during the next few days.
“The poison could have emanated from one area and the corellas then spread it,” Mr Brown said.
Anyone with further information is asked to contact the council on 6770 3600.