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Several birds found dead after consuming alcoholic berries in downtown Little Rock

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Several birds found dead after consuming alcoholic berries

If you're walking in the downtown Little Rock area, you may want to watch your step.

Photos sent to KATV by Cindi Jamison Nobles show dead cedar waxwing birds scattered on the streets. It's a bizarre sight that the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission says has a logical explanation.

“This species of berry-eating birds are often exposed to berries that have ethanol in them," said Jennifer Ballard, a wildlife veterinarian with the commission. "It's fermented, and what that can do is when birds eat that, it can alter their behavior."

In other words, at least a dozen birds binged on alcoholic berries believed to be from a nearby bush. It caused them to crash into buildings and cars, or fall out of trees and die.

“If they get into trouble, it’s usually associated with the change in behavior and running into things,” Ballard said.

Ballard said the recent weather in the area is probably what caused the berries to go bad.

“The changing from really cold to warm spring weather can generate that," she said.

The commission said that when it comes to cleaning up the carcasses, predatory birds have already swooped in and taken care of the job.