Migrating swallows die in their thousands in Limpopo

Posted by Laura Grant on April 10, 2008
Posted in Green News

Tens of thousands of swallows have died in South Africa’s Limpopo province, AFP reports. The birds were due to migrate to Europe, but because of a cold snap last month they were unable to feed properly, says BirdLife South Africa.

Farmers in the area were concerned that the birds had been poisoned. But News24 reports that Gerhard Verdoorn, Birdlife SA’s executive director, said that about three weeks ago, temperatures in the province had plummeted from 21 degrees Celcius to 9 degrees in Limpopo province and the conditions were too wet for the birds to feed. “They became hypothermic (low body temperatures) and hypoglycaemic (low blood-sugar levels).” The birds that managed to survive started their migration on March 28, said Verdoorn.

According to the News24 report, this is not the first mass death of birds in South Africa. Since 2000, the phenomenon has become more frequent and several birds species have been affected.

Verdoorn said climate change was to blame. “The weather changes occurring are vast. February was regarded as being the wet month and March the drier one, but now the situation has changed.”

Via :: TerraDaily and News24.com


2 Responses to “Migrating swallows die in their thousands in Limpopo”

  1. Lelanie
    April 10th, 2008 @ 9:59 am

    What a tragedy. Global warming is realy spoiling the planet. It makes me so sad when I read all these terrible things happening! I wish people would take the whole thing more seriously. While we are shopping and carrying on as normal, the world is dying , here under our feet! We need to earn our right to live on this planet- let’s take it seriously and make the necessary changes. Why not? We have nothing to loose and everything to gain!

  2. Randy Robertson
    April 28th, 2008 @ 7:18 am

    Perhaps these swallows were laden down by the weight of the coconuts they were carrying?

    I really thought the previous poster was being facetious, but they were actually serious. Wow. I’m pretty certain that cold spells have been killing thousands of animals a long time before we figured out burning fossil fuels.

    Besides, if everyone is right about us running out of fossil fuels, then the environment can’t much worse, can it? At some point we will have burned all the Oil and Coal, and from then on, things will only get better 🙂

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