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Dead and dying birds rain down in unexplained occurrence in B.C. community

Last Updated Sep 21, 2018 at 2:20 pm EST

Remains of European starlings that fell from the sky, landing dead or dying by the side of a road in Delta, B.C., in a Sept. 14, 2018, handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Kevin Beech, *MANDATORY CREDIT*

DELTA, B.C. – A British Columbia man who witnessed dozens of birds falling from the sky just south of Vancouver says he was horrified by the sight.

“I called it birdageddon. It was really, really creepy,” Kevin Beech said Friday in an interview.

The self-described animal lover was driving with a friend just off a busy highway in the community of Tsawwassen on Sept. 14 when the birds started hitting the ground around his vehicle.

“They literally dove face-first into the pavement, it was brutal,” said Beech.

Environment Canada wildlife biologist Laurie Wilson confirmed the remains of 42 European starlings have been collected.

“It’s unusual to have this many birds found dead at the same time in the same place,” she said.

The remains of the birds have been sent to the B.C. Ministry of Agriculture’s animal health lab in nearby Abbotsford. Wilson said preliminary results could be available by the middle of next week, if additional tests are not required.

A network of organizations including the Canadian Wildlife Service and officials with the provincial ministries of Environment and Forests are investigating.

The sight of birds plummeting to earth is not unknown, said Wilson.

“You’d be surprised at how often people call and say they’ve seen birds falling dead out of the sky. It does happen. People report it. I haven’t seen it, but people report it.”

Beech, however, is still rattled by what he saw, comparing it to a scene from an Alfred Hitchcock film.

“It was horrible,” he said.

“Like Alfred Hitchcock creepy.”