MILLVILLE, NJ. (CNN) - Thousands of birds drop from the sky in Cumberland County, New Jersey. Crews found dead or dying birds at a location in Millville on Tuesday. It turns out they were killed by a farmer who had been given a permit to use a pesticide.
This bird in a Millville backyard chirps out its last breaths. Nearby in a bush, so is another one. And feet from them, on peach drive and near other homes, the bodies of birds lay where they died right in front of many stunned residents. Their calls brought out hazmat crews to clean up and investigate.
"One fell from this tree over here not too long ago and was flopping around and died."
"You could see the birds just flying and crashing into trees and houses. They'd fall on the ground and get up and try to fly. It was crazy."
New Jersey’s Department of Environmental Protection confirms farmer Richard Ingraldi, whose crops are grown nearby, had a DEP issued permit to use the granular pesticide Avitrol.
It kills the birds after they eat it by affecting their central nervous system. It was put on the fields without violation, says the state.
"It sure does appear that it was effective and we have dead birds on the fields as well as some of the neighborhoods."
And plenty of upset residents who initially got reverse 911 calls Tuesday morning telling them to stay inside because of the dead birds.
They will now get calls saying an approved granular pesticide is in use nearby.
"I don't think it's right to kill birds like that."
This man who would not identify himself drove on to the farm film. He said birds destroyed 80 percent of his corn crop. No one at the Ingraldi farm stand would comment.
A county spokesman says the dead birds aren't toxic but more are expected.