THE mysterious death of a flock of birds — found in the middle of a busy road — has been solved by a keen birdwatcher.

Between 20 and 30 dead starlings appeared in Beaumont Road, near the Britannia Hotel, Ladybridge, in scenes reminiscent of the X-files, according to onlookers.

Early theories about how the birds came by their deaths included the possibility they had flown into a poisonous air trail.

But now keen birdwatcher, Carl Lysyj, of Blackthorne Close in Heaton, has put paid to any theories after revealing he witnessed the flock of birds fly into oncoming traffic.

Mr Lysys, aged 62, said: “I noticed that the initial story described the scene as a mystery, but it wasn’t a mystery to me.

“My wife and I were driving to the garden centre in Wigan Road and were just before the Britannia Hotel in Beaumont Road when we saw the flock fly off the top of Rumworth Lodge.

“It was horrible because as they birds dipped low, we could see what was going to happen, they flew straight into oncoming traffic and I think a large white van took the brunt of it, after that, the remaining birds just flew up and away.

“As a keen birdwatcher, which I have been for my entire life, it was not a pleasant thing to see.”

Starlings, who have the latin name Stumus Vulgaris, are widespread in the UK and known for their fast, direct style of flight and can often be seen wheeling and swooping in unison, which is known as a murmuration.

However, RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch, which took place in January, revealed in there were changes to the top 10 most common garden birds in Greater Manchester, with starlings dropping from third to fourth place in the last 12 months.

There were just under two recorded per garden.

Blue tits moved up from fourth to second, while the previous occupier of the second spot, blackbirds, dropped to number three. Sparrows remained at the top of the table.

A spokesperson for Bolton Council said the remaining dead birds had been successfully cleaned up from Beaumont Road.