Thousands of snow geese killed in Montana after landing in toxic water

Witnesses said the pit looked like “700 acres of white birds,” on Nov. 28, Thompson said Tuesday.

Since then, employees of MR and Arco have used spotlights, noise makers and other efforts to haze the birds off the water and try to prevent others from landing.

The companies estimate that over 90 per cent of the birds were chased off by the morning of Nov. 29, Thompson said.

Workers received some advance notice about the incoming flock from an off-duty Montana Resources employee about 25 miles away, who called to report there were about 25,000 geese in the air in Anaconda, Thompson said.

Typically, Butte sees between 2,000 and 5,000 birds all year, including spring and water migration, Thompson said.

The estimated death toll is based on drone and aircraft flights over the pit, which holds about 45 billion gallons of water.