OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) -- Officials have cleared up the mystery of why so many dead birds were being found in the marshlands and shoreline near Oakland International Airport.

A spokeswoman for the U.S. Department of Agriculture says dozens of cormorants, pelicans and gulls were shot because they had become a threat to air traffic in the area.

USDA Wildlife Services spokeswoman Carol Bannerman says officials had tried to use pyrotechnics to scare away an estimated 2,000 cormorants and other birds seen flocking near a runway last week.

But when the pyrotechnics failed, the birds were shot because they were considered dangerous to planes operating in the area.

California Department of Fish and Game personnel collected about 60 dead and wounded birds near the airport.

Fish and Game Lt. Sheree Christensen says USDA personnel had a permit to shoot the birds.


Information from: The Oakland Tribune, http://www.oaklandtribune.com

Copyright 2009 The AP.

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