Esperance ‘silent summer’ update
Authorities in Western Australia seem to be zeroing in on the cause of the mass-deaths of thousands of birds around the port city of Esperance since December.
Strangely, it appears that pigeons have been unaffected by the “catastrophic” event. So, the authorities have been shooting local pigeons, evidently in order to verify that they haven’t been harmed, and to discover the reasons for their apparent immunity.
One common denominator that may help them identify the source of the problem — believed but not confirmed to be the port, which has shipped out more than 100,000 tonnes of lead carbonate in 18 months — is that the dead birds were all nectar feeders.
That would strengthen the most popular theory that prevailing afternoon sea breezes were blowing the dust back over the town and on to a variety of trees and plants visited by the birds.
- The Australian, 16 March 2007
This is all part of “a major review of the Esperance Port Authority’s licence and facilities” now underway, and the WA Health Department will also “review more than 100 blood tests taken from Port Authority workers and residents in the past two days.”
It’s gratifying that the people of Esperance may soon have some answers regarding this worrisome event. And, even more importantly, a remedy.