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Snow kills wild birds at Scotland Neck sanctuary

Posted December 28, 2010

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— Damage to a wildlife sanctuary in Halifax County from the weekend snowstorm killed at least 20 birds, officials said Tuesday.

The Sylvan Heights Waterfowl Park will remain closed until the end of this week so staff members can repair about 40 aviaries that collapsed Sunday under the weight of ice and snow and locate and secure birds that escaped the broken pens. The bulk of the damage occurred at Sylvan Heights’ adjacent breeding center.

"This is just unimaginable," said Brent Lubbock, Sylvan Heights' marketing director. "We're on our third day, and we're still knocking snow off (the nets atop the aviaries)."

The dead birds included one of only three female black-headed ducks in captivity in the U.S., officials said.

"It's been heart-breaking to see all of this," refuge co-founder Ali Lubbock said.

Ali Lubbock said staff members weren't yet sure how many birds they would find or their condition. She said they are treating the situation like medical triage.

"We had to weigh which ones were the highest priority based on endangered and threatened status and then move down," she said. "You try to assess which birds are going to succumb faster than others, and you move steadily accordingly."

Birds at Sylvan Heights Waterfowl Center Snow kills wild birds at Scotland Neck sanctuary

Sylvan Heights is home to about 4,000 birds. The storm caused about $20,000 in damage, officials said.

"We've been through tornadoes, hurricanes, fires, oil spills, and this snowstorm has probably caused more damage, especially to the breeding center, than we've ever seen," Brent Lubbock said.

Disney's Wild Animal Kingdom and a zoo in New York have agreed to send several waterfowl husbandry professionals to assist the Sylvan Heights staff. Volunteers from the N.C. Zoo Society are helping with the clean-up of the damage and the care of the birds.

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  • logicalthinking Dec 30, 2010

    JoCo Gun Owner,

    How is pet any different than pet? they are animal too. And How would they fair the natural selection, if you put your loved dogs and cats on the street? I do agree with that we should have less interfering and I understand your point.

    However, go to the sanctuary or just visiting their website and UNDERSTAND what they are trying to do there. Wild bird should be free and fly. Many of the birds at the sanctuary are there because they are hurt and are being taken cared of there.

    The whole point of my original post is for people to first know what a wonderful place it is to visit and what a good job they are doing for those birds. Do that before jumping on to make comments.

    On an economic point of view, the success of waterfowl could bring in tourism to Scotland Neck, NC. Maybe develop into something NC be known for. Somewhere you can take your kids and visitors.

  • godnessgracious Dec 29, 2010

    But this will be some time far, far in the future and we're already working on ways to address this.

    Not as far as you think...Scientific models have placed the human population crash within 200 years. some within 100. This is going to be billions of people dying of starvation. We all need to act both individually and collectively. If we are going to prevent this it will take unprecedented amounts of global cooperation.

  • Con Amor brings luv and laughter Dec 29, 2010

    This is sad, but... I thought that "Wild birds" would be free to fly. If they had not been stuck in them cages, they may have flown south for the winter. Away from all of the snow. Or, they may have been on someones Christmas plater browned to perfection. Who knows. But I just dont think calling these "wild birds" is very fitting.

  • fatchanceimwrong Dec 29, 2010

    "I can only say with certainty that something must be done or the population will crash causing suffering on a unimaginable scale." -godnessgracious

    Man can prevent the overpopulation of animals from getting to the point where suffering is caused on an unimaginable scale. We simply kill them to thin out the herds.

    The problem is that at some point man's population will exceed the earth's resources. We have no way to control this that would be considered humane or acceptable. But this will be some time far, far in the future and we're already working on ways to address this.

  • Arapaloosa Dec 29, 2010

    "All of us would have to decide what could and should be done."

    That's what I figured...

  • fatchanceimwrong Dec 29, 2010

    "I do not believe in either of these stories." -godnessgracious

    So you've got a new theory about the origin of man and animals? Do tell.

  • godnessgracious Dec 29, 2010

    Well, if you believe in creationism then you must believe that man has been on the earth roughly the same amount of time as have animals. If you believe in evolution and science, then you must believe that most life on earth was wiped out at some point in the past either with the dinasours or sometime after. That also means that man and animals have shared the earth for roughly the same amount of time.

    I do not believe in either of these stories.

  • godnessgracious Dec 29, 2010

    How exactly do you propose we do that?

    All of us would have to decide what could and should be done. I can only say with certainty that something must be done or the population will crash causing suffering on a unimaginable scale.

  • Arapaloosa Dec 29, 2010

    "limit our growth and resource consumption"

    How exactly do you propose we do that?

  • fatchanceimwrong Dec 29, 2010

    "What did you think was there before the houses and highways and parking lots and factories and warehouses and runways and shall I go on." -godnessgracious

    Well, if you believe in creationism then you must believe that man has been on the earth roughly the same amount of time as have animals. If you believe in evolution and science, then you must believe that most life on earth was wiped out at some point in the past either with the dinasours or sometime after. That also means that man and animals have shared the earth for roughly the same amount of time.

    So man is as equally entitled to inhabit the earth and use it's resources. The earth belongs to us all, not just animals. We do a good job of coexisting and leaving much of the land alone.

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