Mystery of Maffra’s perishing parrots

FORENSIC testing is underway to determine the cause of bird illness and deaths in the Maffra area.

Sick and dying birds have been found along the road and at properties in Beet Rd, Maffra, between Maffra and Stratford.

A Beet Rd resident said a number of galahs and cockatoos had been staggering around, with their wings out and heads down, before dying soon afterwards.

The resident said she and her neighbour first noticed the sick and dying birds last week.

When she discovered the first dead bird in a gutter, the resident thought it had been hit by a car.

It wasn’t until more sick and dead birds appeared that she became concerned.

The resident has been caring for some of the sick galahs, but most haven’t survived.

The Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning said it had been notified of the deaths and was investigating.

A DELWP spokesperson said samples would be sent to Melbourne University for testing to determine the cause of the deaths.

The spokesperson said the tests could take some time and may not provide a definitive answer.

“It’s possible that the deaths could have been caused by disease which can be easily spread through birds that congregate to feed, such as cockatoos,” the spokesperson said.

“Some birds are susceptible to disease, particularly when the weather gets cold and wet.”