Russians are reporting that their pigeons are acting strangely — ignoring humans and vehicles approaching them, according the
International Business Times. Because of their strange behaviour, residents have taken to calling the birds “zombie pigeons.”
Don’t be too worried, though, the reports of these Zombie Pigeons are mixed and totally contradictory — some people are calling it a sign of the coming apocalypse, others saying that this is a common, yearly occurrence.
Still, residents have been posting images and stories of the dead birds on social media.
“When I walk to work, I usually see pigeons running and jumping around. But recently, they haven’t been reacting to anything at all,” a Moscow resident named Umid told Radio free Europe Radio Liberty. “When a person walks past them, they used to fly away. But now they just sit there in a kind of funk and don’t even pay attention to you. They’re just not normal. I’ve seen some pigeons behaving very strangely, turning around in circles.”
Officals say the birds are infected with some kind of a parasite that makes them essentially “the pecking dead” of the bird world. Bird scientists say this kind of thing happens every year, after mating season, and is widespread through the world.
A statement from the Moscow deputy mayor for social issues, Leonid Pechatnikov, quoted by International Business Times, said all the animals inspected had the same common intestinal infection, which isn’t dangerous to humans.
But, the Federal Veterinary and Phytosanitary Inspection Service suggested that the birds erratic behaviour was caused by Newcastle Disease, a contagious bird disease that humans can catch.
Another group, the Veterinary Committee, suggested salmonella poisoning because of lesions in the intestines and livers of dead birds, a characteristic symptom of salmonella.
No matter what the cause, all humans should stay away from the sick pigeons, and call local authorities for proper disposal if they find the body of a bird.
If the pigeons are infected with Newcastle disease, it could be very dangerous to come in contact with one. The disease is caused by a virus that can also infect humans, causing eye infections and flu-like symptoms. It’s not fatal. Humans can also get salmonella from the birds.
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