Residents of Bakersfield Street in Dorchester were stunned to find dozens of dead and sick birds strewn across their yards and fire escapes Thursday morning.
Health and environmental officials arrived to find 47 grackles — small birds from the blackbird family — on the ground or falling from trees, along with a cat who had also become sick, according to Dot Joyce, a spokeswoman for the Animal Rescue League of Boston.
Fifteen grackles have died in the Upham’s Corner neighborhood, along with the cat, who had to be euthanized, Joyce said.
The others remain in the care of Animal Rescue League staff and veterinarians, and their treatment includes hydration, she said.
Joyce said tests will be run on the birds that have died.
The Animal Rescue League, along with Inspectional Services, Environmental Services, and the Department of Public Health, launched an investigation into the cause of death.
Joyce said the League was working with the city to alert residents of the situation.
Willien Pugh, 67, a long-time resident of Bakersfield Street, and made the first call to animal services.
Her cat, Sally, seemed fine at breakfast, but became sick throughout the day, Pugh said.
“I don’t know if she was playing with the birds,” she said. “I’d seen them on the ground, on the fire escape, in the back yard.”
Pugh described the birds as “lethargic, trying to roll over, not able to stand up or fly.”
Some of the birds were found on other streets, including Sumner Street and Annapolis Street, she added.
For now, other residents of her apartment building are keeping their cats inside, Pugh said.