These birds were killed when lightning struck a Lower Southgate paddock on Saturday.
These birds were killed when lightning struck a Lower Southgate paddock on Saturday.

Birds killed by lightning strike

DON’T be fooled by the old wives tale that lightning only strikes tall objects.

Nineteen birds and one thistle found out the hard way that lightning also strikes in open, low-lying spaces.

The birds and plant were found dead on a Lower Southgate farm following a thunderstorm on Saturday afternoon.

A farmer named Robbie, from the area, said he was at home on Lawrence Road when he heard a big boom.

“I looked out the window and down the paddock and I could see dust coming up,” Robbie said.

He assumed the dust was the result of lightning striking the ground.

Once the storm passed and it was safe to go outside, Robbie walked down to the paddock to investigate.

“It was right down on the flat, out in the open, which was unusual,” he said.

Robbie said he agreed with the common belief that lightning usually struck tall objects, so he thought it was strange for the lightning to have struck in the middle of a wide, open, low-lying paddock, nowhere near tall trees.

But when he reached the impact zone, things got even stranger.

“I saw all of these birds had just dropped dead and were all over the ground,” Robbie said.

He also discovered a burnt thistle with a small crater around it, which Robbie believed must have been the point of impact.

The owner of the farm, Anita Ostenfeld, didn’t see the lightning strike but she photographed the dead birds because it was such an unusual sight.

She counted 17 ibis and two plovers dead, all within a 20 metre radius of the thistle.

Anita agreed with Robbie that it was an unusual location for lightning to strike.

“You wouldn’t have expected it to hit there because it’s almost at river level,” she said.

After seeing the scorched thistle, Anita said it would make her think twice about the survival theory of hiding in a ditch to shelter from lightning.

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