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Birds overdose in California park after eating pills dumped in huge pile, rescuers say

A Canada goose was laying “in distress” in a California park after eating pills dumped in a pile of hundreds, a wildlife rescue group said. It and a ring-billed gull were hooked up to IVs and are doing better.
A Canada goose was laying “in distress” in a California park after eating pills dumped in a pile of hundreds, a wildlife rescue group said. It and a ring-billed gull were hooked up to IVs and are doing better. Courtesy of Lisa Peronne/Wetlands & Wildlife Care Center

Hundreds of pills were scattered on the grass Wednesday at a park in Huntington Beach, California, and a witness saw something even more disturbing nearby, wildlife rescuers said.

A Canada goose was lying “in distress” in the park, the Wetlands & Wildlife Care Center in Orange County wrote in a Facebook post on Thursday. The person who spotted the ailing goose called animal control officers.

The nonprofit animal rescue group said it is now treating the goose and a ring-billed gull, who both lost muscle control. Their symptoms were “most likely caused by ingesting these medications,” the animal rescuers said. Rescuers have been “pushing IV fluids through (the birds) to flush” the drugs out of their bodies.

Those two birds might not be the only victims.

“There were other birds that may have eaten some of the pills but they were able to fly away,” animal rescuers said in the Facebook post.

One photo from the scene, provided by Lisa Perrone of Wetlands & Wildlife Care Center, shows white, green, yellow, orange and blue pills of all shapes and sizes sprinkled on the grass. Another depicts a goose lying catatonic on the ground, its wings pulled in close to its body and its legs pointing straight up in the air.

Peronne told McClatchy over Facebook that “both birds have a good prognosis and one so far has a scheduled release date for next week.”

The other bird is also doing better, and rescuers will reevaluate it next week, Peronne said.

Peronne said she couldn’t say definitively what the pills were. Witnesses said the pills might have been antidepressants, insomnia medicine, heart medication or anti-anxiety pills, KTLA reports.

The ailing birds were found at Huntington Beach’s Carr Park, which includes a lake that attracts birds and those who want to watch them, CBSLA reports.

“Thank you to those who took quick action to help the innocent birds at this park,” the rescuers said.

Kansas is one of three states in the nation without expanded access to a life-saving drug that reverses opioid overdoses. The drug is called naloxone, or Narcan by its brand-name.

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