Pigeon deaths still a mystery


    Contractors who used a clear silicone caulking to replace a plane of glass on the Moudy atrium Wednesday say they are not responsible for the deaths of several pigeons.

    In one hour, at least six birds became ill from an unknown cause. The birds convulsed, vomited, foamed at the mouth and died.

    The university hired a crew from Econo-Glass and Mirror to replace the glass. The crew secured the glass with clear silicone caulking.

    The company did not use any materials that would harm birds, said Steve Corrado, the owner of Econo-Glass and Mirror.

    “We don’t use any chemicals or anything like that,” Corrado said. “It’s the exact same sealant they put on fish aquariums.”

    When repairing a window, the caulking is inserted between the glass and the window pane. The birds would be unlikely to eat the caulking, Corrado said.

    University employees collected the dead pigeons and placed them in a dumpster. The Physical Plant had no part in the birds’ deaths, said Will Stallworth, associate vice chancellor for facilities.

    Cynthia Miller-Skaggs, a certified volunteer for WildCare Inc. Rehabilitation, said several things could have caused the pigeons’ illness.

    “It sounds like poison of some type, but they could have gotten it from someone’s yard or from some water,” Miller-Skaggs said. 

    Miller-Skaggs said the birds probably posed no health threat to students.
    Jason Lamers, planning and communication coordinator for the Fort Worth Public Health Department, said it is difficult to speculate on the pigeons’ cause of death.

    “It could be all kinds of stuff,” he said. “With the foaming at the mouth, it could possibly be a chemical.”

    Several concerned students watched the pigeons’ odd behavior.

    “It’s such a slow, horrible way to die,” said Rachel Rodenkirk, a junior studio art major. “They were flipping around in circles and then they got sick.”