CLEARFIELD -- Hundreds of birds fell from the sky Saturday and Sunday, but unlike a bizarre occurrence in Cedar City and St. George last week, these birds were not making erroneous crash landings.
According to a city official, these birds were likely dead before they hit the ground.
As to why they died, the answer depends on who you ask.
JJ Allen, Clearfield's assistant city manager, said parks department employees have been gathering dead European starlings since Sunday.
"Our parks department has cleaned up a total of 380 birds," Allen said late Monday afternoon, "mostly on the north end of the city by Kiwanis Park."
Allen contacted the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources and was told the DWR was not responsible for the birds.
Phil Douglass, the DWR conservation outreach manager for Northern Utah, said the information he received was that the dead birds were part of a population control effort by the Department of Agriculture.
Allen said he was reassured by the DWR that the poison that killed the birds has worn off and would not be harmful to dogs that may find the dead birds.
Douglass said the treatment took place in western Weber County and involved 15,000 European starlings.
However, Mike Linnell, federal program director at Animal and Wildlife Damage Prevention Services, said they had nothing to do with the dead birds.
"We have not treated any birds in Clearfield," Linnell said.
Animal and Wildlife Damage Prevention Services falls under the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food.
There was some thought that this incident was similar to the deaths of thousands of migrating eared grebes that crash-landed in Southern Utah last week. The grebes live on water, and while their legs are built for swimming, they are not built for walking on land. The birds can land and take off only in water. Wildlife officials believe the birds may have mistaken parking lots for water and tried to land.
Douglass said about 12 injured grebes have been brought in to wildlife rehabilitation employees since the windstorm on Dec. 1.
"They have injuries on their feet that would suggest landing on pavement," Douglass said. "The good folks here at wildlife rehabilitation are taking good care of them and will release them when they get back to full strength."
These birds were found from West Jordan to Tremonton, said Randy Wood, DWR regional wildlife manager.