More than 50 native birds died after plummeting from the sky bleeding from their eyes and beaks in a bizarre scene vets suspect was the result of poisoning.
A team from Casper’s Bird Rescue discovered the corellas at One Tree Hill near Adelaide last Wednesday.
Founder Sarah King said one worker called her while ‘really distressed’ to say they were ‘literally falling out of the trees in front of him, falling out of the sky.’
‘Only two or three were actually deceased. The rest were just screaming on the ground,’ she told The Guardian.
‘They couldn’t fly any more, they were bleeding out of their mouths. What we were seeing was something out of a horror movie.’
In all, rescuers have found 60 birds – 58 of which have died.
Ms King said the type of poison used inflicted a ‘horrific, slow death’ taking weeks.
‘It is not an instant death,’ she added. ‘It causes suffering.’
In South Australia the little corella is considered a pest and listed as unprotected by the state government.
Earlier this year a local council proposed culling them by gassing.
But the huge majority of the birds killed were of the protected long-billed species.
‘This isn’t the way to deal with anything,’ Ms King said.
‘It’s also against the law.’
Vets are now waiting on toxicology reports to help determine a cause of death.
‘We believe it was a targeted thing, but that is only speculation,’ Ms King said.
‘We don’t know what poison it is at this stage.’