Horrified people in South Australia were forced to flee in terror as more than 60 of the tragic animals smashed into the ground after a suspected poisoning.
The majority were a protected species called long-billed corella and they tumbled out of trees and the sky on Wednesday.
They are a type of cockatoo and only three of those that perished were the non-protected short-billed corella.
Most were dead when rescuers arrived and those that were living had blood streaming out of their eyes and beaks.
They were rushed to two veterinary surgeries but of the roughly 60 birds discovered exactly 58 died after the incident at One Tree Hill, Adelaide.
“Only two or three were actually deceased. The rest were just screaming on the ground.
“They couldn’t fly anymore, they were bleeding out of their mouths,” Sarah King, the founder of Casper’s Bird Rescue, told The Guardian.
She said the corellas were “literally falling out of the trees” and likely died “a horrible, miserable and very stressful death,” with many discovered by her staff.
One Tree Hill Primary school posted to their Facebook group saying “the children in vacation care were very upset at the scene of birds falling from the sky and in pain, with blood coming out of their mouths.”
King told ABC animal rescuers contacted the local council to determine if they had attempted to harm the birds, but they insisted they had only used herbicides on plants which are not harmful to wildlife.
The government is investigating the deaths and the state’s Department for Environment and Water has not been able to confirm the cause of death of the birds but rescuers suspect poisoning.
“The crops on a couple of birds that we did open up after they passed away showed that they were full of grain but we don’t have any toxicology to know that’s for sure,” King added.
“We’ve also contacted Biosecurity South Australia so that they are being tested for any sort of exotic diseases to make sure that it’s not that, but more than likely they have been poisoned.”