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Thousands of birds die in outback heatwave


A huge flock of birds has dropped dead in temperatures topping 45C after swamping an outback roadhouse in the southern Gascoyne. Budgerigars, crimson chat, zebra finches and cockatiels descended on the Overlander Roadhouse, 200km south of Carnarvon, on Monday last week. Thousands of birds have since died after invading sheds, basements and even a hotel bedroom. The number of dead birds was well over 1000 and it was probably due to the extreme heat. It probably happened when what were mostly young birds were “caught out” by the heatwave. The woman who owns the Overlander Roadhouse said the scenes were reminiscent of Alfred Hitchcock’s film The Birds. So many birds arrived that they broke the branches of one of her trees. “I’ve never seen anything like it - birds were dropping out of the sky, dead. They were just coming out of nowhere." Officials put out water bins for the birds, but many seemed too exhausted to be revived. “We tried to give them water but they were drowning under the sprinklers.” Kangaroos, emus and goats also died in the heat. 

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