SALEM, Ore. – The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife says the recent death of numerous Oregon barn swallows and violet-green swallows was the recent wet and windy weather.
ODFW veterinarians say they received multiple calls from Oregon residents about dead and dying swallows Monday. The reports were received from Port of Saint Helens to Junction City.
Veterinarians say groups of 10 to 200 swallows were reported dead or near death in barns and other structures. The mortality appears greater near rivers and standing water where the birds concentrate.
“This type of mortality event is unprecedented and considered a rare and unusual event,” said Colin Gillin, ODFW State Wildlife Veterinarian. “The effect on bird populations is unknown.”
The birds were examined at the Oregon State University Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory. Pathologists determined the swallows were thin and had not eaten recently, leading to the most likely reason for death was weather-related starvation.
Veterinarians say the four consecutive days of rain and wind prevented the swallows from feeding, during the time they normally prepare for winter migration.
Swallows are seasonal migrants to Oregon and migrate to Central and South America during winter.