By Joe King, [email protected]

The remains of the bird carcasses show electrical  wires where not the cause of the mass kill. (The Herald/ Submitted Photo)

The remains of the bird carcasses show electrical wires where not the cause of the mass kill. (The Herald/ Submitted Photo)

The case of the mysterious mass bird kill that took place on Boyds Creek Hwy. Dec. 30 of 2012 and has been under investigation since is formally considered closed by state officials.

Originally feared by many Seymour residents to be linked to poison or chemical exposure the Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency took three of the nearly 60 Red Winged Black Bird and Red Starling carcasses into a lab for investigation.

At its start TWRA left numerous options opened as to the cause of the mass bird kill.

“If it was a poison or chemical exposure that killed the birds, there would have been dead bird in more areas than just along one road,” said TWRA Regional Manager John Gregory. “If it was caused by disease there would have been multiple species all over the ground.”

At first Gregory said the TWRA investigation was “ruled an electric issue” with the powerline along the road.

Although Sevier County Electrical Systems doesn’t serve that portion of Boyds Creek Hwy., the company’s Treasurer and Public Relations Manager Allen Robbins said the original deduced TWRA ruling didn’t seem plausible.

“I would have to disagree with them,” Robbins said. “Normally anything that touches a live wire is burnt to a crisp.”
Robbins added when an animal is killed by contacting an electrical wire it is usually a single animal that touches a transformer and he has never heard of a mass of birds being killed in such a manner.

“I’ve never known of a surge or reset that would cause a multiple killing like th

TWRA Regional Manager John Gregory. (The Herald/ Submitted Photo)

TWRA Regional Manager John Gregory. (The Herald/ Submitted Photo)

at,” he said.

Similarly, Knoxville Utility Board, which does serve the area in question, said the cause of the mass bird kill was not related to their electrical system.

“We did not have any outages on our system in that area of Seymour on December 30th,” the official KUB Media Relations response stated. “We also checked the dates of December 29th and December 31st and did not have any outages on those days either.”

Further pointing to the fact the mass kill was not related to an electrical problem is confirmation from the Tennessee Department of Transportation that there were carcasses of birds to move, indicating they were not fried by electricity.

“I am told that TDOT maintenance crews moved the dead birds off Boyds Creek Highway, but didn’t collect any of them,” said TDOT Community Relations Officer Mark Nagi. “TWRA picked up at least three of the birds to perform testing.”

Since considering these factors, the ruling of the mass bird killed has been changed.

“I’ve been speaking with local officers and they can’t explain why this happened to all these birds,” Gregory said. “We ruled out what we knew and the incident is considered to be an unexplained phenomenon. It isn’t something that is necessarily going to have a human impact, so the case is considered to be closed.”

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