Bird culling fallout alarms NJ community

January 27, 2009 4:33:53 AM PST
U.S. Agriculture Department officials say residents of Somerset County should have seen the last of the starlings dropping out of the sky. Hundreds of the birds fell dead onto roads and lawns in and around Franklin Township over the weekend after agriculture officials decided to eradicate a flock that had become a nuisance for a farmer in Griggstown and posed a health threat to his livestock.

Police and the county health department had been notified that the birds were to be poisoned, but homeowners were not. Many were startled and alarmed.

USDA spokeswoman Carol Bannerman assured residents that the poisoning was closely monitored and that the pesticide used was harmless to people and pets. She promised her agency would try to do a better job of informing the public in the future.

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