I Mess With Texas, Part 17

So, it has been some time since I messed with Texas.

And I'm feeling a little disloyal right now, as I'm actually writing something about the upcoming South By Southwest Film festival, which I believe I shall be attending.

Plus, Austin is not really the rest of Texas.

But I can't resist the opportunity to mess with Texas — and make a Monty Python reference.

AUSTIN, Texas – Police shut down 10 blocks of businesses in the heart
of downtown Monday morning after dozens of birds were found dead in the
streets, but officials said preliminary tests showed no air quality
problems and the area reopened around 1 p.m.

many as 60 dead pigeons, sparrows and grackles were found overnight
along Congress Avenue, a main route through downtown. No human injuries
or illnesses were reported.

"We do not feel there is a threat to the public health," said Adolfo
Valadez, the medical director for Austin and Travis County Health and
Human Services.

He said preliminary air-quality tests showed no dangerous chemicals,
though the dead birds would be sent for further testing to rule out
viruses or poison.

Experts at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the National Audubon
Society said the most likely cause was a deliberate poisoning of the
troublesome grackles, which is more common than people think. It's also
legal, with local permits, said Greg Butcher, director of bird
conservation at the Audubon in Washington….

Workers collected dead birds off the roadway and tested for possible
environmental contaminants and for any gas or chlorine leaks, said
police spokeswoman Toni Chovanetz. At least one bird carcass was being
tested locally for other possible causes, and others were shipped to
Texas A&M University.

Regular messing-with should continue in the weeks to come.